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Howard Pyle's 
Book cf Pirates 


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Book of Pirates 

Fi<flion,Fa<fl & Fancy concerning 
the Buccaneers *& Marooners of 
the Spanish Main: From the 
writing t? Pictures gf Howard 
Pyle : Compiled by Merle Johnson 

Harper W Brothers Tublijhers 

New \brk ? London 
















ON THE TORTUGAS Facing p. 6 




















OF THE WATER" " 142 













Hm" " 206 







PIRATES, Buccaneers, Marooners, those cruel but picturesque 
sea wolves who once infested the Spanish Main, all live in present- 
day conceptions in great degree as drawn by the pen and pencil 
of Howard Pyle. 

Pyle, artist-author, living in the latter half of the nineteenth 
century and the first decade of the twentieth, had the fine faculty 
of transposing himself into any chosen period of history and making 
its people flesh and blood again not just historical puppets. 
His characters were sketched with both words and picture; with 
both words and picture he ranks as a master, with a rich per- 
sonality which makes his work individual and attractive in either 

He was one of the founders of present-day American illustra- 
tion, and his pupils and grand-pupils pervade that field to-day. 
While he bore no such important part in the world of letters, his 
stories are modern in treatment, and yet widely read. His range 
included historical treatises concerning his favorite Pirates (Quaker 
though he was) ; fiction, with the same Pirates as principals; Ameri- 
canized version of Old World fairy tales; boy stories of the Middle 
Ages, still best sellers to growing lads; stories of the occult, such 
as In Tenebras and To the Soil of the Earth, which, if newly published, 
would be hailed as contributions to our latest cult. 

In all these fields Pyle's work may be equaled, surpassed, save 
in one. It is improbable that anyone else will ever bring his com- 
bination of interest and talent to the depiction of these old-time 
Pirates, any more than there could be a second Remington to paint 
the now extinct Indians and gun-fighters of the Great West. 

Important and interesting to the student of history, the 



adventure-lover, and the artist, as they are, these Pirate stories 
and pictures have been scattered through many magazines and 
books. Here, in this volume, they are gathered together for the 
first time, perhaps not just as Mr. Pyle would have done, but with 
a completeness and appreciation of the real value of the material 
which the author's modesty might not have permitted. 



WHY is it that a little spice of deviltry lends not an unpleasantly 
titillating twang to the great mass of respectable flour that goes 
to make up the pudding of our modern civilization? And pertinent 
to this question another Why is it that the pirate has, and always 
has had, a certain lurid glamour of the heroical enveloping him 
round about? Is there, deep under the accumulated debris of 
culture, a hidden groundwork of the old-time savage? Is there 
even in these well-regulated times an unsubdued nature in the 
respectable mental household of every one of us that still kicks 
against the pricks of law and order? To make my meaning more 
clear, would not every boy, for instance that is, every boy of any 
account rather be a pirate captain than a Member of Parliament? 
And we ourselves would we not rather read such a story as that 
of Captain Avery's capture of the East Indian treasure ship, with 
its beautiful princess and load of jewels (which gems he sold by the 
handful, history sayeth, to a Bristol merchant), than, say, one of 
Bishop Atterbury's sermons, or the goodly Master Robert Boyle's 
religious romance of "Theodora and Didymus"? It is to be 
apprehended that to the unregenerate nature of most of us there 
can be but one answer to such a query. 

In the pleasurable warmth the heart feels in answer to tales 
of derring-do Nelson's battles are all mightily interesting, but, 



even in spite of their romance of splendid courage, I fancy that the 
majority of us would rather turn back over the leaves of history 
to read how Drake captured the Spanish treasure ship in the 
South Sea, and of how he divided such a quantity of booty in the 
Island of Plate (so named because of the tremendous dividend 
there declared) that it had to be measured in quart bowls, being 
too considerable to be counted. 

Courage and daring, no matter how mad and ungodly, have 
always a redundancy of vim and life to recommend them to the 
nether man that lies within us, and no doubt his desperate courage, 
his battle against the tremendous odds of all the civilized world of 
law and order, have had much to do in making a popular hero 
of our friend of the black flag. But it is not altogether courage 
and daring that endear him to our hearts. There is another and 
perhaps a greater kinship in that lust for wealth that makes one's 
fancy revel more pleasantly in the story of the division of treasure 
in the pirate's island retreat, the hiding of his godless gains some- 
where in the sandy stretch of tropic beach, there to remain hidden 
until the time should come to rake the doubloons up again and to 
spend them like a lord in polite society, than in the most thrilling 
tales of his wonderful escapes from commissioned cruisers through 
tortuous channels between the coral reefs. 

And what a life of adventure is his, to be sure! A life of con- 
stant alertness, constant danger, constant escape! An ocean 
Ishmaelite, he wanders forever aimlessly, homelessly; now unheard 
of for months, now careening his boat on some lonely uninhabited 
shore, now appearing suddenly to swoop down on some merchant 
vessel with rattle of musketry, shouting, yells, and a hell of un- 
bridled passions let loose to rend and tear. What a Carlislean 
hero! What a setting of blood and lust and flame and rapine for 
such a hero! 

Piracy, such as was practiced in the flower of its days that is, 

during the early eighteenth century was no sudden growth. It 



was an evolution, from the semilawful buccaneering of the sixteenth 
century, just as buccaneering was upon its part, in a certain sense, 
an evolution from the unorganized, unauthorized warfare of the 
Tudor period. 

For there was a deal of piratical sniack in the anti-Spanish 
ventures of Elizabethan days. Many of the adventurers of the 
Sir Francis Drake school, for instance actually overstepped again 
and again the bounds of international law, entering into the realms 
of de facto piracy. Nevertheless, while their doings were not 
recognized officially by the government, the perpetrators were 
neither punished nor reprimanded for their excursions against 
Spanish commerce at home or in the West Indies; rather were 
they commended, and it was considered not altogether a dis- 
creditable thing for men to get rich upon the spoils taken from 
Spanish galleons in times of nominal peace. Many of the most 
reputable citizens and merchants of London, when they felt that 
the queen failed in her duty of pushing the fight against the great 
Catholic Power, fitted out fleets upon their own account and sent 
them to levy good Protestant war of a private nature upon the 
Pope's anointed. 

Some of the treasures captured in such ventures were immense, 
stupendous, unbelievable. For an example, one can hardly credit 
the truth of the "purchase" gamed by Drake in the famous capture 
of the plate ship in the South Sea. 

One of the old buccaneer writers of a century later says: "The 
Spaniards affirm to this day that he took at that time twelvescore 
tons of plate and sixteen bowls of coined money a man (his number 
being then forty-five men in all), insomuch that they were forced 
to heave much of it overboard, because bis ship could not carry 
it all." 

Maybe this was a very greatly exaggerated statement put 
by the author and his Spanish authorities, nevertheless there was 
enough truth in it to prove very conclusively to the bold minds of 


the age that tremendous profits "purchases" they called them 
were to be made from piracy. The Western World is filled with 
the names of daring mariners of those old days, who came flitting 
across the great trackless ocean in their little tublike boats of a few 
hundred tons burden, partly to explore unknown seas, partly 
largely, perhaps in pursuit of Spanish treasure: Frobisher, Davis, 
Drake, and a score of others. 

In this left-handed war against Catholic Spam many of the 
adventurers were, no doubt, stirred and incited by a grim, Cal- 
vinistic, puritanical zeal for Protestantism. But equally beyond 
doubt the gold and silver and plate of the "Scarlet Woman" had 
much to do with the persistent energy with which these hardy 
mariners braved the mysterious, unknown terrors of the great 
unknown ocean that stretched away to the sunset, there in far- 
away waters to attack the huge, unwieldy, treasure-laden galleons 
that sailed up and down the Caribbean Sea and through the Bahama 

Of all ghastly and terrible things old-tune religious war was 
the most ghastly and terrible. One can hardly credit nowadays 
the cold, callous cruelty of those times. Generally death was the 
least penalty that capture entailed. When the Spaniards made 
prisoners of the English, the Inquisition took them in hand, and 
what that meant all the world knows. When the English captured 
a Spanish vessel the prisoners were tortured, either for the sake of 
revenge or to compel them to disclose where treasure lay hidden. 
Cruelty begat cruelty, and it would be hard to say whether the 
Anglo-Saxon or the Latin showed himself to be most proficient 
in torturing his victim. 

When Cobham, for instance, captured the Spanish ship in the 
Bay of Biscay, after all resistance was over and the heat of the 
battle had cooled, he ordered his crew to bind the captain and all 
of the crew and every Spaniard aboard whether in arms or not 
to sew them up hi the mainsail and to fling them overboard. There 



were some twenty dead bodies in the sail when a few days later it 
was washed up on the shore. 

Of course such acts were not likely to go unavenged, and 
many an innocent life was sacrificed to pay the debt of Cobham's 

Nothing could be more piratical than all this. Nevertheless, 
as was said, it was winked at, condoned, if not sanctioned, by the 
law; and it was not beneath people of family and respectability 
to take part in it. But by and by Protestantism and Catholicism 
began to be at somewhat less deadly enmity with each other; 
religious wars were still far enough from being ended, but the 
scabbard of the sword was no longer flung away when the blade was 
drawn. And so followed a time of nominal peace, and a generation 
arose with whom it was no longer respectable and worthy one 
might say a matter of duty to fight a country with which one's 
own land was not at war. Nevertheless, the seed had been sown; 
it had been demonstrated that it was feasible to practice piracy 
against Spain and not to suffer therefor. Blood had been shed 
and cruelty practiced, and, once indulged, no lust seems stronger 
than that of shedding blood and practicing cruelty. 

Though Spain might be ever so well grounded in peace at home, 
in the West Indies she was always at war with the whole world 
English, French, Dutch. It was almost a matter of life or death 
with her to keep her hold upon the New World. At home she 
was bankrupt and, upon the earthquake of the Reformation, her 
power was already beginning to totter and to crumble to pieces. 
America was her treasure house, and from it alone could she hope 
to keep her leaking purse full of gold and silver. So it was that 
she strove strenuously, desperately, to keep out the world from 
her American possessions a bootless task, for the old order upon 
which her power rested was broken and crumbled forever. But 
still she strove, fighting against fate, and so it was that in the 
tropical America it was one continual war between her and all 



the world. Thus it came that, long after piracy ceased to be allowed 
at home, it continued in those far-away seas with unabated vigor, 
recruiting to its service all that lawless malign element which gathers 
together in every newly opened country where the only law is law- 
lessness, where might is right and where a living is to be gained 
with no more trouble than cutting a throat. 

Howard Pile's 
Book of Pirates 


Chapter I 


UST above the northwestern shore of the old island 
of Hispaniola the Santo Domingo of our day and 
separated from it only by a narrow channel of some 
five or six miles in width, lies a queer little hunch 
of an island, known, because of a distant resemblance 
to that animal, as the Tortuga de Mar, or sea turtle. It is not 
more than twenty miles in length by perhaps seven or eight in 
breadth; it is only a little spot of land, and as you look at it upon 
the map a pin's head would almost cover it; yet from that spot, 
as from a center of inflammation, a burning fire of human wickedness 
and ruthlessness and lust overran the world, and spread terror and 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

death throughout the Spanish West Indies, from St. Augustine 
to the island of Trinidad, and from Panama to the coasts of Peru. 

About the middle of the seventeenth century certain French 
adventurers set out from the fortified island of St. Christopher in 
longboats and hoys, directing their course to the westward, there 
to discover new islands. Sighting Hispaniola "with abundance of 
joy," they landed, and went into the country, where they found 
great quantities of wild cattle, horses, and swine. 

Now vessels on the return voyage to Europe from the West 
Indies needed revictualing, and food, especially flesh, was at a 
premium in the islands of the Spanish Main; wherefore a great 
profit was to be turned in preserving beef and pork, and selling 
the flesh to homeward-bound vessels. 

The northwestern shore of Hispaniola, lying as it does at the 
eastern outlet of the old Bahama Channel, running between the 
island of Cuba and the great Bahama Banks, lay almost in the very 
main stream of travel. The pioneer Frenchmen were not slow to 
discover the double advantage to be reaped from the wild cattle 
that cost them nothing to procure, and a market for the flesh 
ready found for them. So down upon Hispaniola they came by 
boatloads and shiploads, gathering like a swarm of mosquitoes, and 
overrunning the whole western end of the island. There they 
established themselves, spending the time alternately in hunting 
the wild cattle and buccanning 1 the meat, and squandering their 
hardly earned gams in wild debauchery, the opportunities for 
which were never lacking in the Spanish West Indies. 

At first the Spaniards thought nothing of the few travel-worn 
Frenchmen who dragged their longboats and hoys up on the beach, 
and shot a wild bullock or two to keep body and soul together; 
but when the few grew to dozens, and the dozens to scores, and the 
scores to hundreds, it was a very different matter, and wrathful 

Buccanning, by which the "buccaneers" gained their name, was a process of curing thin strips 
of meat by salting, smoking, and drying in the sun. 


Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

grumblings and mutterings began to be heard among the original 

But of this the careless buccaneers thought never a whit, the 
only thing that troubled them being the lack of a more convenient 
shipping point than the main island afforded them. 

This lack was at last filled by a party of hunters who ventured 
across the narrow channel that separated the main island from 
Tortuga. Here they found exactly what they needed a good 
harbor, just at the junction of the Windward Channel with the 
old Bahama Channel a spot where four-fifths of the Spanish- 
Indian trade would pass by their very wharves. 

There were a few Spaniards upon the island, but they were a 
quiet folk, and well disposed to make friends with the strangers; 
but when more Frenchmen and still more Frenchmen crossed the 
narrow channel, until they overran the Tortuga and turned it 
into one great curing house for the beef which they shot upon 
the neighboring island, the Spaniards grew restive over the matter, 
just as they had done upon the larger island. 

Accordingly, one fine day there came half a dozen great boat- 
loads of armed Spaniards, who landed upon the Turtle's Back and 
sent the Frenchmen flying to the woods and fastnesses of rocks 
as the chaff flies before the thunder gust. That night the Spaniards 
drank themselves mad and shouted themselves hoarse over their 
victory, while the beaten Frenchmen sullenly paddled their canoes 
back to the main island again, and the Sea Turtle was Spanish once 

But the Spaniards were not contented with such a petty 
triumph as that of sweeping the island of Tortuga free from the 
obnoxious strangers; down upon Hispaniola they came, flushed 
with their easy victory, and determined to root out every French- 
man, until not one single buccaneer remained. For a time they 
had an easy thing of it, for each French hunter roamed the woods 
by himself, with no better company than his half-wild dogs, so 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

that when two or three Spaniards would meet such a one, he seldom 
if ever came out of the woods again, for even his resting place was 

But the very success of the Spaniards brought their ruin along 
with it, for the buccaneers began to combine together for self- 
protection, and out of that combination arose a strange union of 
lawless man with lawless man, so near, so close, that it can scarce 
be compared to any other than that of husband and wife. When 
two entered upon this comradeship, articles were drawn up and 
signed by both parties, a common stock was made of all their 
possessions, and out into the woods they went to seek their fortunes; 
thenceforth they were as one man; they lived together by day, 
they slept together by night; what one suffered, the other suffered; 
what one gained, the other gained. The only separation that 
came betwixt them was death, and then the survivor inherited all 
that the other left. And now it was another thing with Spanish 
buccaneer hunting, for two buccaneers, reckless of life, quick of 
eye, and true of aim, were worth any half dozen of Spanish islanders. 

By and by, as the French became more strongly organized for 
mutual self-protection, they assumed the offensive. Then down 
they came upon Tortuga, and now it was the turn of the Spanish 
to be hunted off the island like vermin, and the turn of the French 
to shout their victory. 

Having firmly established themselves, a governor was sent 
to the French of Tortuga, one M. le Passeur, from the island of 
St. Christopher; the Sea Turtle was fortified, and colonists, con- 
sisting of men of doubtful character and women of whose character 
there could be no doubt whatever, began pouring in upon the island, 
for it was said that the buccaneers thought no more ot' a doubloon 
than of a Lima bean, so that this was the place for the brothel and 
the brandy shop to reap their golden harvest, and the island re- 
mained French. 

Hitherto the Tortugans had been content to gain as much 


On the Tortugas 

Illustration from 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published in 

HARPER'S MAGAZINE, August and September, 1S87 

Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

as possible from the homeward-bound vessels through the orderly 
channels of legitimate trade. It was reserved for Pierre le Grand 
to introduce piracy as a quicker and more easy road to wealth 
than the semihonest exchange they had been used to practice. 

Gathering together eight-and-twenty other spirits as hardy 
and reckless as himself, he put boldly out to sea in a boat hardly 
large enough to hold his crew, and running down the Windward 
Channel and out into the Caribbean Sea, he lay in wait for such a 
prize as might be worth the risks of winning. 

For a while their luck was steadily against them; their pro- 
visions and water began to fail, and they saw nothing before them 
but starvation or a humiliating return. In this extremity they 
sighted a Spanish ship belonging to a "flota" which had become 
separated from her consorts. 

The boat in which the buccaneers sailed might, perhaps, 
have served for the great ship's longboat; the Spaniards out- 
numbered them three to one, and Pierre and his men were armed 
only with pistols and cutlasses; nevertheless this was their one 
and their only chance, and they determined to take the Spanish 
ship or to die in the attempt. Down upon the Spaniard they 
bore through the dusk of the night, and giving orders to the "chi- 
rurgeon" to scuttle their craft under them as they were leaving it, 
they swarmed up the side of the unsuspecting ship and upon its 
decks in a torrent pistol in one hand and cutlass in the other. 
A part of them ran to the gun room and secured the arms and 
ammunition, pistoling or cutting down all such as stood in their 
way or offered opposition; the other party burst into the great 
cabin at the heels of Pierre le Grand, found the captain and a 
party of his friends at cards, set a pistol to his breast, and demanded 
him to deliver up the ship. Nothing remained for the Spaniard 
but to yield, for there was no alternative between surrender and 
death. And so the great prize was won. 

It was not long before the news of this great exploit and of 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

the vast treasure gained reached the ears of the buccaneers of 
Tortuga and Hispaniola. Then what a hubbub and an uproar 
and a tumult there was! Hunting wild cattle and buccanning 
the meat was at a discount, and the one and only thing to do was 
to go a-pirating; for where one such prize had been won, others 
were to be had. 

In a short time freebooting assumed all of the routine of a 
regular business. Articles were drawn up betwixt captain and 
crew, compacts were sealed, and agreements entered into by the 
one party and the other. 

In all professions there are those who make their mark, those 
who succeed only moderately well, and those who fail more or less 
entirely. Nor did pirating differ from this general rule, for in it 
were men who rose to distinction, men whose names, something 
tarnished and rusted by the lapse of years, have come down even 
to us of the present day. 

Pierre Francois, who, with his boatload of six-and-twenty 
desperadoes, ran boldly into the midst of the pearl fleet off the 
coast of South America, attacked the vice admiral under the very 
guns of two men-of-war, captured his ship, though she was armed 
with eight guns and manned with threescore men, and would have 
got her safely away, only that having to put on sail, their main- 
mast went by the board, whereupon the men-of-war came up with 
them, and the prize was lost. 

But even though there were two men-of-war against all that 
remained of six-and-twenty buccaneers, the Spaniards were glad 
enough to make terms with them for the surrender of the vessel, 
whereby Pierre Frangois and his men came off scot-free. 

Bartholomew Portuguese was a worthy of even more note. In a 
boat manned with thirty fellow adventurers he fell upon a great ship 
off Cape Corrientes, manned with threescore and ten men, all told. 

Her he assaulted again and again, beaten off with the very 
pressure of numbers only to renew the assault, until the Spaniards 


Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

who survived, some fifty in all, surrendered to twenty living pirates, 
who poured upon their decks like a score of blood-stained, powder- 
grimed devils. 

They lost their vessel by recapture, and Bartholomew Portu- 
guese barely escaped with his life through a series of almost un- 
believable adventures. But no sooner had he fairly escaped from 
the clutches of the Spaniards than, gathering together another 
band of adventurers, he fell upon the very same vessel in the gloom 
of the night, recaptured her when she rode at anchor in the harbor 
of Campeche under the guns of the fort, slipped the cable, and 
was away without the loss of a single man. He lost her in a hurri- 
cane soon afterward, just off the Isle of Pines; but the deed was 
none the less daring for all that. 

Another notable no less famous than these two worthies was 
Roch Braziliano, the truculent Dutchman who came up from the 
coast of Brazil to the Spanish Main with a name ready-made for 
him. Upon the very first adventure which he undertook he cap- 
tured a plate ship of fabulous value, and brought her safely into 
Jamaica; and when at last captured by the Spaniards, he fairly 
frightened them into letting him go by truculent threats of vengeance 
from his followers. 

Such were three of the pirate buccaneers who infested the 
Spanish Main. There were hundreds no less desperate, no less 
reckless, no less insatiate in their lust for plunder, than they. 

The effects of this freebooting soon became apparent. The 
risks to be assumed by the owners of vessels and the shippers of 
merchandise became so enormous that Spanish commerce was 
practically swept away from these waters. No vessel dared to 
venture out of port excepting under escort of powerful men-of-war, 
and even then they were not always secure from molestation. 
Exports from Central and South America were sent to Europe 
by way of the Strait of Magellan, and little or none went through 
the passes between the Bahamas and the Caribbees. 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

So at last "buccaneering," as it had come to be generically 
called, ceased to pay the vast dividends that it had done at first. 
The cream was skimmed off, and only very thin milk was left in 
the dish. Fabulous fortunes were no longer earned in a ten days' 
cruise, but what money was won hardly paid for the risks of the 
winning. There must be a new departure, or buccaneering would 
cease to exist. 

Then arose one who showed the buccaneers a new way to 
squeeze money out of the Spaniards. This man was an Englishman 
Lewis Scot. 

The stoppage of commerce on the Spanish Main had naturally 
tended to accumulate all the wealth gathered and produced into the 
chief fortified cities and towns of the West Indies. As there no 
longer existed prizes upon the sea, they must be gained upon the 
land, if they were to be gained at all. Lewis Scot was the first to 
appreciate this fact. 

Gathering together a large and powerful body of men as hungry 
for plunder and as desperate as himself, he descended upon the town 
of Campeche, which he captured and sacked, stripping it of every- 
thing that could possibly be carried away. 

When the town was cleared to the bare walls Scot threatened 
to set the torch to every house in the place if it was not ransomed 
by a large sum of money which he demanded. With this booty 
he set sail for Tortuga, where he arrived safely and the problem 
was solved. 

After him came one Mansvelt, a buccaneer of lesser note, who 
first made a descent upon the isle of Saint Catharine, now Old 
Providence, which he took, and, with this as a base, made an 
unsuccessful descent upon Neuva Granada and Cartagena. His 
name might not have been handed down to us along with others of 
greater fame had he not been the master of that most apt of pupils, 
the great Captain Henry Morgan, most famous of all the buccaneers, 
one time governor of Jamaica, and knighted by King Charles II. 


Capture of the Galleon 

Illustration from 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published in 

HARPER'S MAGAZINE, August and September, 1887 

Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

After Mansvelt followed the bold John Davis, native of 
Jamaica, where he sucked in the lust of piracy with his mother's 
milk. With only fourscore men, he swooped down upon the 
great city of Nicaragua in the darkness of the night, silenced the 
sentry with the thrust of a knife, and then fell to pillaging the 
churches and houses "without any respect or veneration." 

Of course it was but a short time until the whole town was 
in an uproar of alarm, and there was nothing left for the little hand- 
ful of men to do but to make the best of their way to their boats. 
They were in the town but a short time, but in that time they were 
able to gather together and to carry away money and jewels to 
the value of fifty thousand pieces of eight, besides dragging off 
with them a dozen or more notable prisoners, whom they held for 

And now one appeared upon the scene who reached a far 
greater height than any had arisen to before. This was Francois 
1'Olonoise, who sacked the great city of Maracaibo and the town 
of Gibraltar. Cold, unimpassioned, pitiless, his sluggish blood was 
never moved by one single pulse of human warmth, his icy heart 
was never touched by one ray of mercy or one spark of pity for the 
hapless wretches who chanced to fall into his bloody hands. 

Against him the governor of Havana sent out a great war 
vessel, and with it a negro executioner, so that there might be no 
inconvenient delays of law after the pirates had been captured. 
But 1'Olonoise did not wait for the coming of the war vessel; he 
went out to meet it, and he found it where it lay riding at anchor 
in the mouth of the river Estra. At the dawn of the morning he 
made his attack sharp, unexpected, decisive. In a little while 
the Spaniards were forced below the hatches, and the vessel was 
taken. Then came the end. One by one the poor shrieking 
wretches were dragged up from below, and one by one they were 
butchered in cold blood, while 1'Olonoise stood upon the poop 
deck and looked coldly down upon what was being done. Among 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

the rest the negro was dragged upon the deck. He begged and 
implored that his life might be spared, promising to tell all that 
might be asked of him. L'Olonoise questioned him, and when 
he had squeezed him dry, waved his hand coldly, and the poor black 
went with the rest. Only one man was spared; him he sent to the 
governor of Havana with a message that henceforth he would 
give no quarter to any Spaniard whom he might meet in arms a 
message which was not an empty threat. 

The rise of 1'Olonoise was by no means rapid. He worked his 
way up by dint of hard labor and through much ill fortune. But 
by and by, after many reverses, the tide turned, and carried him 
with it from one success to another, without let or stay, to the 
bitter end. 

Cruising off Maracaibo, he captured a rich prize laden with a 
vast amount of plate and ready money, and there conceived the 
design of descending upon the powerful town of Maracaibo itself. 
Without loss of time he gathered together five hundred picked 
scoundrels from Tortuga, and taking with him one Michael de 
Basco as land captain, and two hundred more buccaneers whom 
he commanded, down he came into the Gulf of Venezuela and 
upon the doomed city like a blast of the plague. Leaving their 
vessels, the buccaneers made a land attack upon the fort that stood 
at the mouth of the inlet that led into Lake Maracaibo and guarded 
the city. 

The Spaniards held out well, and fought with all the might 
that Spaniards possess; but after a fight of three hours all was 
given up and the garrison fled, spreading terror and confusion 
before them. As many of the inhabitants of the city as could 
do so escaped in boats to Gibraltar, which lies to the southward, 
on the shores of Lake Maracaibo, at the distance of some forty 
leagues or more. 

Then the pirates marched into the town, and what followed 
may be conceived. It was a holocaust of lust, of passion, and of 


Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

blood such as even the Spanish West Indies had never seen before. 
Houses and churches were sacked until nothing was left but the 
bare walls; men and women were tortured to compel them to dis- 
close where more treasure lay hidden. 

Then, having wrenched all that they could from Maracaibo, 
they entered the lake and descended upon Gibraltar, where the 
rest of the panic-stricken inhabitants were huddled together in a 
blind terror. 

The governor of Merida, a brave soldier who had served his 
king in Flanders, had gathered together a troop of eight hundred 
men, had fortified the town, and now lay in wait for the coming 
of the pirates. The pirates came all in good time, and then, in 
spite of the brave defense, Gibraltar also fell. Then followed a 
repetition of the scenes that had been enacted in Maracaibo for 
the past fifteen days, only here they remained for four horrible 
weeks, extorting money money! ever money! from the poor 
poverty-stricken, pest-ridden souls crowded into that fever hole of 
a town. 

Then they left, but before they went they demanded still more 
money ten thousand pieces of eight as a ransom for the town, 
which otherwise should be given to the flames. There was some 
hesitation on the part of the Spaniards, some disposition to haggle, 
but there was no hesitation on the part of 1'Olonoise. The torch 
was set to the town as he had promised, whereupon the money was 
promptly paid, and the pirates were piteously begged to help 
quench the spreading flames. This they were pleased to do, but 
in spite of all their efforts nearly half of the town was consumed. 

After that they returned to Maracaibo again, where they 
demanded a ransom of thirty thousand pieces of eight for the city. 
There was no haggling here, thanks to the fate of Gibraltar; only 
it was utterly impossible to raise that much money in all of the 
poverty-stricken region. But at last the matter was compromised, 
and the town was redeemed for twenty thousand pieces of eight 
2 [13] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

and five hundred head of cattle, and tortured Maracaibo was quit 
of them. 

In the lie de la Vache the buccaneers shared among themselves 
two hundred and sixty thousand pieces of eight, besides jewels and 
bales of silk and linen and miscellaneous plunder to a vast amount. 

Such was the one great deed of 1'Olonoise; from that time his 
star steadily declined for even nature seemed fighting against 
such a monster until at last he died a miserable, nameless death 
at the hands of an unknown tribe of Indians upon the Isthmus 
of Darien. 

And now we come to the greatest of all the buccaneers, he who 
stands pre-eminent among them, and whose name even to this 
day is a charm to call up his deeds of daring, his dauntless courage, 
his truculent cruelty, and his insatiate and unappeasable lust for 
gold Capt. Henry Morgan, the bold Welshman, who brought 
buccaneering to the height and flower of its glory. 

Having sold himself, after the manner of the times, for his 
passage across the seas, he worked out his time of servitude at the 
Barbados. As soon as he had regained his liberty he entered 
upon the trade of piracy, wherein he soon reached a position of 
considerable prominence. He was associated with Mansvelt at 
the time of the latter's descent upon Saint Catharine's Isle, the 
importance of which spot, as a center of operations against the 
neighboring coasts, Morgan never lost sight of. 

The first attempt that Capt. Henry Morgan ever made against 
any town in the Spanish Indies was the bold descent upon the 
city of Puerto del Principe in the island of Cuba, with a mere 
handful of men. It was a deed the boldness of which has never 
been outdone by any of a like nature not even the famous attack 
upon Panama itself. Thence they returned to their boats in 
the very face of the whole island of Cuba, aroused and determined 
upon their extermination. Not only did they make good their 


Henry Morgan Recruiting for the Attack 

Illustration from 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published in 

HARPER'S MAGAZINE, August and September, 1887 

Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

escape, but they brought away with them a vast amount of plunder, 
computed at three hundred thousand pieces of eight, besides five 
hundred head of cattle and many prisoners held for ransom. 

But when the division of all this wealth came to be made, lo! 
there were only fifty thousand pieces of eight to be found. What 
had become of the rest no man could tell but Capt. Henry Morgan 
himself. Honesty among thieves was never an axiom with him. 

Rude, truculent, and dishonest as Captain Morgan was, he 
seems to have had a wonderful power of persuading the wild buc- 
caneers under him to submit everything to his judgment, and 
to rely entirely upon his word. In spite of the vast sum of money 
that he had very evidently made away with, recruits poured in 
upon him, until his band was larger and better equipped than ever. 

And now it was determined that the plunder harvest was ripe 
at Porto Bello, and that city's doom was sealed. The town was 
defended by two strong castles thoroughly manned, and officered 
by as gallant a soldier as ever carried Toledo steel at his side. But 
strong castles and gallant soldiers weighed not a barleycorn with 
the buccaneers when their blood was stirred by the lust of gold. 

Landing at Puerto Naso, a town some ten leagues westward 
of Porto Bello, they marched to the latter town, and coming before 
the castle, boldly demanded its surrender. It was refused, where- 
upon Morgan threatened that no quarter should be given. Still 
surrender was refused; and then the castle was attacked, and 
after a bitter struggle was captured. Morgan was as good as his 
word: every man in the castle was shut in the guard room, the 
match was set to the powder magazine, and soldiers, castle, and all 
were blown into the air, while through all the smoke and the dust 
the buccaneers poured into the town. Still the governor held 
out in the other castle, and might have made good his defense, 
but that he was betrayed by the soldiers under him. Into the castle 
poured the howling buccaneers. But still the governor fought on, 
with his wife and daughter clinging to his knees and beseeching 

f 151 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

him to surrender, and the blood from his wounded forehead trickling 
down over his white collar, until a merciful bullet put an end to 
the vain struggle. 

Here were enacted the old scenes. Everything plundered that 
could be taken, and then a ransom set upon the town itself. 

This time an honest, or an apparently honest, division was 
made of the spoils, which amounted to two hundred and fifty 
thousand pieces of eight, besides merchandise and jewels. 

The next towns to suffer were poor Maracaibo and Gibraltar, 
now just beginning to recover from the desolation wrought by 
1'Olonoise. Once more both towns were plundered of every bale 
of merchandise and of every piaster, and once more both were 
ransomed until everything was squeezed from the wretched 

Here affairs were like to have taken a turn, for when Captain 
Morgan came up from Gibraltar he found three great men-of-war 
lying in the entrance to the lake awaiting his coming. Seeing that 
he was hemmed in in the narrow sheet of water, Captain Morgan 
was inclined to compromise matters, even offering to relinquish 
all the plunder he had gained if he were allowed to depart in peace. 
But no; the Spanish admiral would hear nothing of this. Having 
the pirates, as he thought, securely in his grasp, he would relinquish 
nothing, but would sweep them from the face of the sea once and 

That was an unlucky determination for the Spaniards to reach, 
for instead of paralyzing the pirates with fear, as he expected it 
would do, it simply turned their mad courage into as mad 

A great vessel that they had taken with the town of Maracaibo 
was converted into a fire ship, manned with logs of wood in montera 
caps and sailor jackets, and filled with brimstone, pitch, and palm 
leaves soaked in oil. Then out of the lake the pirates sailed to meet 
the Spaniards, the fire shio leading the way, and bearing down 


Morgan at Porto Bello 

Illustration from 


by E. C. Stedman 

Originally published in 


Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

directly upon the admiral's vessel. At the helm stood volunteers, 
the most desperate and the bravest of all the pirate gang, and at 
the ports stood the logs of wood in montera caps. So they came 
up with the admiral, and grappled with his ship in spite of the 
thunder of all his great guns, and then the Spaniard saw, all too 
late, what his opponent really was. 

He tried to swing loose, but clouds of smoke and almost in- 
stantly a mass of roaring flames enveloped both vessels, and the 
admiral was lost. The second vessel, not wishing to wait for the 
coming of the pirates, bore down upon the fort, under the guns 
of which the cowardly crew sank her, and made the best of their 
way to the shore. The third vessel, not having an opportunity 
to escape, was taken by the pirates without the slightest resistance, 
and the passage from the lake was cleared. So the buccaneers 
sailed away, leaving Maracaibo and Gibraltar prostrate a second 

And now Captain Morgan determined to undertake another 
venture, the like of which had never been equaled in all of the 
annals of buccaneering. This was nothing less than the descent 
upon and the capture of Panama, which was, next to Cartagena, 
perhaps, the most powerful and the most strongly fortified city in 
the West Indies. 

In preparation for this venture he obtained letters of marque 
from the governor of Jamaica, by virtue of which elastic commission 
he began immediately to gather around him all material necessary 
for the undertaking. 

When it became known abroad that the great Captain Morgan 
was about undertaking an adventure that was to eclipse all that 
was ever done before, great numbers came flocking to his standard, 
until he had gathered together an army of two thousand or more 
desperadoes and pirates wherewith to prosecute his adventure, 
albeit the venture itself was kept a total secret from everyone. 
Port Couillon, in the island of Hispaniola, over against the He de la 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

Vache, was the place of muster, and thither the motley band gath- 
ered from all quarters. Provisions had been plundered from the 
mainland wherever they could be obtained, and by the 24th of 
October, 1670 (O. S.), everything was in readiness. 

The island of Saint Catharine, as it may be remembered, was 
at one time captured by Mansvelt, Morgan's master in his trade 
of piracy. It had been retaken by the Spaniards, and was now 
thoroughly fortified by them. Almost the first attempt that 
Morgan had made as a master pirate was the retaking of Saint 
Catharine's Isle. In that undertaking he had failed; but now, 
as there was an absolute need of some such place as a base of opera- 
tions, he determined that the place must be taken. And it was 

The Spaniards, during the time of their possession, had fortified 
it most thoroughly and completely, and had the governor thereof 
been as brave as he who met his death in the castle of Porto Bello, 
there might have been a different tale to tell. As it was, he sur- 
rendered it in a most cowardly fashion, merely stipulating that there 
should be a sham attack by the buccaneers, whereby his credit 
might be saved. And so Saint Catharine was won. 

The next step to be taken was the capture of the castle of 
Chagres, which guarded the mouth of the river of that name, up 
which river the buccaneers would be compelled to transport their 
troops and provisions for the attack upon the city of Panama. 
This adventure was undertaken by four hundred picked men 
under command of Captain Morgan himself. 

The castle of Chagres, known as San Lorenzo by the Spaniards, 
stood upon the top of an abrupt rock at the mouth of the river, 
and was one of the strongest fortresses for its size in all of the West 
Indies. This stronghold Morgan must have if he ever hoped to 
win Panama. 

The attack of the castle and the defense of it were equally 
fierce, bloody, and desperate. Again and again the buccaneers 


Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

assaulted, and again and again they were beaten back. So the 
morning came, and it seemed as though the pirates had been 
baffled this time. But just at this juncture the thatch of palm 
leaves on the roofs of some of the buildings inside the fortifications 
took fire, a conflagration followed, which caused the explosion of one 
of the magazines, and in the paralysis of terror that followed, the 
pirates forced their way into the fortifications, and the castle was 
won. Most of the Spaniards flung themselves from the castle 
walls into the river or upon the rocks beneath, preferring death to 
capture and possible torture; many who were left were put to the 
sword, and some few were spared and held as prisoners. 

So fell the castle of Chagres, and nothing now lay between the 
buccaneers and the city of Panama but the intervening and track- 
less forests. 

And now the name of the town whose doom was sealed was no 

Up the river of Chagres went Capt. Henry Morgan and twelve 
hundred men, packed closely in their canoes; they never stopped, 
saving now and then to rest their stiffened legs, until they had 
come to a place known as Cruz de San Juan Gallego, where they 
were compelled to leave their boats on account of the shallowness 
of the water. 

Leaving a guard of one hundred and sixty men to protect 
their boats as a place of refuge in case they should be worsted 
before Panama, they turned and plunged into the wilderness 
before them. 

There a more powerful foe awaited them than a host of Span- 
iards with match, powder, and lead starvation. They met but 
little or no opposition in their progress; but wherever they turned 
they found every fiber of meat, every grain of maize, every ounce 
of bread or meal, swept away or destroyed utterly before them. 
Even when the buccaneers had successfully overcome an ambuscade 
or an attack, and had sent the Spaniards flying, the fugitives took 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

the time to strip their dead comrades of every grain of food in 
their leathern sacks, leaving nothing but the empty bags. 

Says the narrator of these events, himself one of the expedi- 
tion, "They afterward fell to eating those leathern bags, as afford- 
ing something to the ferment of their stomachs." 

Ten days they struggled through this bitter privation, dog- 
gedly forcing their way onward, faint with hunger and haggard 
with weakness and fever. Then, from the high hill and over the 
tops of the forest trees, they saw the steeples of Panama, and 
nothing remained between them and their goal but the fighting 
of four Spaniards to every one of them a simple thing which they 
had done over and over again. 

Down they poured upon Panama, and out came the Spaniards 
to meet them; four hundred horse, two thousand five hundred 
foot, and two thousand wild bulls which had been herded together 
to be driven over the buccaneers so that their ranks might be 
disordered and broken. The buccaneers were only eight hundred 
strong; the others had either fallen in battle or had dropped along 
the dreary pathway through the wilderness; but in the space 
of two hours the Spaniards were flying madly over the plain, 
minus six hundred who lay dead or dying behind them. 

As for the bulls, as many of them as were shot served as food 
there and then for the half-famished pirates, for the buccaneers 
were never more at home than in the slaughter of cattle. 

Then they marched toward the city. Three hours' more 
fighting and they were in the streets, howling, yelling, plundering, 
gorging, dram-drinking, and giving full vent to all the vile and 
nameless lusts that burned in their hearts like a hell of fire. And 
now followed the usual sequence of events rapine, cruelty, and 
extortion; only this tune there was no town to ransom, for Morgan 
had given orders that it should be destroyed. The torch was set 
to it, and Panama, one of the greatest cities in the New World, 
was swept from the face of the earth. Why the deed was done, 


The Sacking of Panama 

Illustration from 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published in 

HARPER'S MAGAZINE, August and September, 1887 

Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

no man but Morgan could tell. Perhaps it was that all the secret 
hiding places for treasure might be brought to light; but whatever 
the reason was, it lay hidden in the breast of the great buccaneer 
himself. For three weeks Morgan and his men abode in this 
dreadful place; and they marched away with one hundred and 
seventy-five beasts of burden loaded with treasures of gold and silver 
and jewels, besides great quantities of merchandise, and six hundred 
prisoners held for ransom. 

Whatever became of all that vast wealth, and what it amounted 
to, no man but Morgan ever knew, for when a division was made it 
was found that there was only two hundred pieces of eight to each man. 

When this dividend was declared a howl of execration went 
up, under which even Capt. Henry Morgan quailed. At night he 
and four other commanders slipped their cables and ran out to sea, 
and it was said that these divided the greater part of the booty 
among themselves. But the wealth plundered at Panama could 
hardly have fallen short of a million and a half of dollars. Com- 
puting it at this reasonable figure, the various prizes won by Henry 
Morgan in the West Indies would stand as follows: Panama, 
$1,500,000; Porto Bello, $800,000; Puerto del Principe, $700,000; 
Maracaibo and Gibraltar, $400,000; various piracies, $250,000 
making a grand total of $3,650,000 as the vast harvest of plunder. 
With this fabulous wealth, wrenrhed from the Spaniards by means 
of the rack and the cord, and pilfered from his companions by the 
meanest of thieving, Capt. Henry Morgan retired from business, 
honored of all, rendered famous by his deeds, knighted by the good 
King Charles II, and finally appointed governor of the rich island 
of Jamaica. 

Other buccaneers followed him. Campeche was taken and 
sacked, and even Cartagena itself fell; but with Henry Morgan 
culminated the glory of the buccaneers, and from that time they 
declined in power and wealth and wickedness until they were finally 

swept away. 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

The buccaneers became bolder and bolder. In fact, so daring 
were their crimes that the home governments, stirred at last by 
these outrageous barbarities, seriously undertook the suppression 
of the freebooters, lopping and trimming the main trunk until 
its members were scattered hither and thither, and it was thought 
that the organization was exterminated. But, so far from being 
exterminated, the individual members were merely scattered 
north, south, east, and west, each forming a nucleus around which 
gathered and clustered the very worst of the offscouring of 

The result was that when the seventeenth century was fairly 
packed away with its lavender in the store chest of the past, a 
score or more bands of freebooters were cruising along the Atlantic 
seaboard in armed vessels, each with a black flag with its skull and 
crossbones at the fore, and with a nondescript crew made up of 
the tags and remnants of civilized and semicivilized humanity 
(white, black, red, and yellow), known generally as marooners, 
swarming upon the decks below. 

Nor did these offshoots from the old buccaneer stem confine 
their depredations to the American seas alone; the East Indies 
and the African coast also witnessed their doings, and suffered from 
them, and even the Bay of Biscay had good cause to remember 
more than one visit from them. 

Worthy sprigs from so worthy a stem improved variously upon 
the parent methods; for while the buccaneers were content to 
prey upon the Spaniards alone, the marooners reaped the harvest 
from the commerce of all nations. 

So up and down the Atlantic seaboard they cruised, and 
for the fifty years that marooning was in the flower of its glory 
it was a sorrowful time for the coasters of New England, the middle 
provinces, and the Virginias, sailing to the West Indies with their 
cargoes of salt fish, grain, and tobacco. Trading became almost 
as dangerous as privateering, and sea captains were chosen as 


Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

much for their knowledge of the flintlock and the cutlass as for their 

As by far the largest part of the trading in American waters 
was conducted by these Yankee coasters, so by far the heaviest 
blows, and those most keenly felt, fell upon them. Bulletin after 
bulletin came to port with its doleful tale of this vessel burned 
or that vessel scuttled, this one held by the pirates for their own 
use or that one stripped of its goods and sent into port as empty 
as an eggshell from which the yolk had been sucked. Boston, 
New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston suffered alike, and worthy 
ship owners had to leave off counting their losses upon their fingers 
and take to the slate to keep the dismal record. 

"Maroon to put ashore on a desert isle, as a sailor, under 
pretense of having committed some great crime." Thus our good 
Noah Webster gives us the dry bones, the anatomy, upon which the 
imagination may construct a specimen to suit itself. 

It is thence that the marooners took their name, for marooning 
was one of their most effective instruments of punishment or re- 
venge. If a pirate broke one of the many rules which governed 
the particular band to which he belonged, he was marooned; did 
a captain defend his ship to such a degree as to be unpleasant to the 
pirates attacking it, he was marooned; even the pirate captain 
himself, if he displeased his followers by the severity of his rule, 
was in danger of having the same punishment visited upon him 
which he had perhaps more than once visited upon another. 

The process of marooning was as simple as terrible. A suitable 
place was chosen (generally some desert isle as far removed as 
possible from the pathway of commerce), and the condemned man 
was rowed from the ship to the beach. Out he was bundled upon 
the sand spit; a gun, a half dozen bullets, a few pinches of powder, 
and a bottle of water were chucked ashore after him, and away 
rowed the boat's crew back to the ship, leaving the poor wretch 
alone to rave away his life in madness, or to sit sunken in his gloomy 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

despair till death mercifully released him from torment. It rarely 
if ever happened that anything was known of him after having 
been marooned. A boat's crew from some vessel, sailing by chance 
that way, might perhaps find a few chalky bones bleaching upon 
the white sand in the garish glare of the sunlight, but that was all. 
And such were marooners. 

By far the largest number of pirate captains were Englishmen, 
for, from the days of good Queen Bess, English sea captains seemed 
to have a natural turn for any species of venture that had a smack 
of piracy in it, and from the great Admiral Drake of the old, old 
days, to the truculent Morgan of buccaneering times, the Englishman 
did the boldest and wickedest deeds, and wrought the most damage. 

First of all upon the list of pirates stands the bold Captain 
Avary, one of the institutors of marooning. Hun we see but 
dimly, half hidden by the glamouring mists of legends and tradition. 
Others who came afterward outstripped him far enough in their 
doings, but he stands pre-eminent as the first of marooners of whom 
actual history has been handed down to us of the present day. 

When the English, Dutch, and Spanish entered into an alliance 
to suppress buccaneering in the West Indies, certain worthies of 
Bristol, in old England, fitted out two vessels to assist in this 
laudable project; for doubtless Bristol trade suffered smartly from 
the Morgans and the 1'Olonoises of that old time. One of these 
vessels was named the Duke, of which a certain Captain Gibson 
was the commander and Avary the mate. 

Away they sailed to the West Indies, and there Avary became 
impressed by the advantages offered by piracy, and by the amount 
of good things that were to be gained by very little striving. 

One night the captain (who was one of those fellows mightily 
addicted to punch), instead of going ashore to saturate himself 
with rum at the ordinary, had his drink in his cabin in private. 
While he lay snoring away the effects of his rum in the cabin, 
Avary and a few other conspirators heaved the anchor very leisurely, 


Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

and sailed out of the harbor of Corunna, and through the midst 
of the allied fleet riding at anchor in the darkness. 

By and by, when the morning came, the captain was awakened 
by the pitching and tossing of the vessel, the rattle and clatter 
of the tackle overhead, and the noise of footsteps passing and re- 
passing hither and thither across the deck. Perhaps he lay for a 
while turning the matter over and over in his muddled head, but 
he presently rang the bell, and Avary and another fellow answered 
the call. 

"What's the matter?" bawls the captain from his berth. 

"Nothing," says Avary, coolly. 

"Something's the matter with the ship," says the captain. 
"Does she drive? What weather is it?" 

"Oh no," says Avary; "we are at sea." 

"At sea?" 

"Come, come!" says Avary: "I'll tell you; you must know 
that I'm the captain of the ship now, and you must be packing 
from this here cabin. We are bound to Madagascar, to make all 
of our fortunes, and if you're a mind to ship for the cruise, why, 
we'll be glad to have you, if you will be sober and mind your own 
business; if not, there is a boat alongside, and I'll have you set 

The poor half-tipsy captain had no relish to go a-pirating 
under the command of his backsliding mate, so out of the ship he 
bundled, and away he rowed with four or five of the crew, who, 
like him, refused to join with their jolly shipmates. 

The rest of them sailed away to the East Indies, to try their 
fortunes in those waters, for our Captain Avary was of a high spirit, 
and had no mind to fritter away his time in the West Indies, 
squeezed dry by buccaneer Morgan and others of lesser note. No, 
he would make a bold stroke for it at once, and make or lose at a 
single cast. 

On his way he picked up a couple of like kind with himself 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

two sloops off Madagascar. With these he sailed away to the coast 
of India, and for a time his name was lost in the obscurity of un- 
certain history. But only for a time, for suddenly it flamed out 
in a blaze of glory. It was reported that a vessel belonging to the 
Great Mogul, laden with treasure and bearing the monarch's own 
daughter upon a holy pilgrimage to Mecca (they being Mohamme- 
dans), had fallen in with the pirates, and after a short resistance 
had been surrendered, with the damsel, her court, and all the 
diamonds, pearls, silk, silver, and gold aboard. It was rumored 
that the Great Mogul, raging at the insult offered to him through 
his own flesh and blood, had threatened to wipe out of existence 
the few English settlements scattered along the coast; whereat 
the honorable East India Company was in a pretty state of fuss 
and feathers. Rumor, growing with the telling, has it that Avary 
is going to marry the Indian princess, willy-nilly, and will turn 
rajah, and eschew piracy as indecent. As for the treasure itself, 
there was no end to the extent to which it grew as it oassed from 
mouth to mouth. 

Cracking the nut of romance and exaggeration, we come to the 
kernel of the story that Avary did fall in with an Indian vessel 
laden with great treasure (and possibly with the Mogul's daughter), 
which he captured, and thereby gained a vast prize. 

Having concluded that he had earned enough money by the 
trade he had undertaken, he determined to retire and live decently 
for the rest of his life upon what he already had. As a step toward 
this object, he set about cheating his Madagascar partners out of 
their share of what had been gained. He persuaded them to store 
all the treasure in his vessel, it being the largest of the three; and 
so, having it safely in hand, he altered the course of his ship one 
fine night, and when the morning came the Madagascar sloops 
found themselves floating upon a wide ocean without a farthing 
of the treasure for which they had fought so hard, and for which 
they might whistle for all the good it would do them. 



Illustration fnn 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published in 

HARPER'S MAGAZINE, August and September, 18-i? 

Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

At first Avary had a great part of a mind to settle at Boston, 
in Massachusetts, and had that little town been one whit less bleak 
and forbidding, it might have had the honor of being the home of 
this famous man. As it was, he did not like the looks of it, so he 
sailed away to the eastward, to Ireland, where he settled himself 
at Biddeford, in hopes of an easy life of it for the rest of his days. 

Here he found himself the possessor of a plentiful stock of jewels, 
such as pearls, diamonds, rubies, etc., but with hardly a score of 
honest farthings to jingle in his breeches pocket. He consulted 
with a certain merchant of Bristol concerning the disposal of the 
stones a fellow not much more cleanly in his habits of honesty 
than Avary himself. This worthy undertook to act as Avary's 
broker. Off he marched with the jewels, and that was the last 
that the pirate saw of his Indian treasure. 

Perhaps the most famous of all the piratical names to American 
ears are those of Capt. Robert Kidd and Capt. Edward Teach, 
or "Blackbeard." 

Nothing will be ventured in regard to Kidd at this time, 
nor in regard to the pros and cons as to whether he really was or 
was not a pirate, after all. For many years he was the very hero 
of heroes of piratical fame; there was hardly a creek or stream or 
point of land along our coast, hardly a convenient bit of good sandy 
beach, or hump of rock, or water-washed cave, where fabulous 
treasures were not said to have been hidden by this worthy marooner. 
Now we are assured that he never was a pirate, and never did bury 
any treasure, excepting a certain chest, which he was compelled 
to hide upon Gardiner's Island and perhaps even it was mythical. 

So poor Kidd must be relegated to the dull ranks of simply 
respectable people, or semirespectable people at best. 

But with "Blackbeard" it is different, for in him we have a 
real, ranting, raging, roaring pirate per se one who really did 
bury treasure, who made more than one captain walk the plank, 
and who committed more private murders than he could number 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

on the fingers of both hands; one who fills, and will continue to 
fill, the place to which he has been assigned for generations, and 
who may be depended upon to hold his place in the confidence of 
others for generations to come. 

Captain Teach was a Bristol man born, and learned his trade 
on board of sundry privateers in the East Indies during the old 
French war that of 1702 and a better apprenticeship could no 
man serve. At last, somewhere about the latter part of the year 
1716, a privateering captain, one Benjamin Hornigold, raised him 
from the ranks and put him in command of a sloop a lately 
captured prize and Blackbeard's fortune was made. It was a 
very slight step, and but the change of a few letters, to convert 
"privateer" into "pirate," and it was a very short time before 
Teach made that change. Not only did he make it himself, but 
he persuaded his old captain to join with him. 

And now fairly began that series of bold and lawless depreda- 
tions which have made his name so justly famous, and which 
placed him among the very greatest of marooning freebooters. 

"Our hero," says the old historian who sings of the arms and 
bravery of this great man "our hero assumed the cognomen of 
Blackbeard from that large quantity of hah- which, like a frightful 
meteor, covered his whole face, and frightened America more than 
any comet that appeared there in a long time. He was accustomed 
to twist it with ribbons into small tails, after the manner of our 
Ramillies wig, and turn them about his ears. In time of action 
he wore a sling over his shoulders, with three brace of pistols, 
hanging in holsters like bandoleers; he stuck lighted matches 
under his hat, which, appearing on each side of his face, and his 
eyes naturally looking fierce and wild, made him altogether such 
a figure that imagination cannot form an idea of a Fury from hell 
to look more frightful." 

The night before the day of the action in which he was killed 
he sat up drinking with some congenial company until broad 


Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

daylight. One of them asked him if his poor young wife knew 
where his treasure was hidden. "No," says Blackbeard; "nobody 
but the devil and I knows where it is, and the longest liver shall 
have all." 

As for that poor young wife of his, the life that he and his 
rum-crazy shipmates led her was too terrible to be told. 

For a time Blackbeard worked at his trade down on the Spanish 
Mam, gathering, in the few years he was there, a very neat little 
fortune in the booty captured from sundry vessels; but by and by 
he took it into his head to try his luck along the coast of the Caro- 
linas; so off he sailed to the northward, with quite a respectable 
little fleet, consisting of his own vessel and two captured sloops. 
From that time he was actively engaged in the making of American 
history in his small way. 

He first appeared off the bar of Charleston Harbor, to the 
no small excitement of the worthy town of that ilk, and there he 
lay for five or six days, blockading the port, and stopping incoming 
and outgoing vessels at his pleasure, so that, for the time, the 
commerce of the province was entirely paralyzed. All the vessels 
so stopped he held as prizes, and all the crews and passengers 
(among the latter of whom was more than one provincial worthy 
of the day) he retained as though they were prisoners of war. 

And it was a mightily awkward thing for the good folk of 
Charleston to behold day after day a black flag with its white 
skull and crossbones fluttering at the fore of the pirate captain's 
craft, over across the level stretch of green salt marshes; and 
it was mightily unpleasant, too, to know that this or that prominent 
citizen was crowded down with the other prisoners under the 

One morning Captain Blackbeard finds that his stock of 

medicine is low. "Tut!" says he, "we'll turn no hair gray for 

that." So up he calls the bold Captain Richards, the commander 

of his consort the Revenge sloop, and bids him take Mr. Marks 

3 [29] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

(one of his prisoners), and go up to Charleston and get the medicine. 
There was no task that suited our Captain Richards better than 
that. Up to the town he rowed, as bold as brass. "Look ye," 
says he to the governor, rolling his quid of tobacco from one cheek 
to another "look ye, we're after this and that, and if we don't 
get it, why, I'll tell you plain, we'll burn them bloody crafts of 
yours that we've took over yonder, and cut the weasand of every 
clodpoll aboard of 'em." 

There was no answering an argument of such force as this, 
and the worshipful governor and the good folk of Charleston knew 
very well that Blackbeard and his crew were the men to do as they 
promised. So Blackbeard got his medicine, and though it cost 
the colony two thousand dollars, it was worth that much to the 
town to be quit of him. 

They say that while Captain Richards was conducting his 
negotiations with the governor his boat's crew were stumping 
around the streets of the town, having a glorious time of it, while 
the good folk glowered wrathfully at them, but dared venture 
nothing in speech or act. 

Having gained a booty of between seven and eight thousand 
dollars from the prizes captured, the pirates sailed away from 
Charleston Harbor to the coast of North Carolina. 

And now Blackbeard, following the plan adopted by so many 
others of his kind, began to cudgel his brains for means to cheat 
his fellows out of their share of the booty. 

At Topsail Inlet he ran his own vessel aground, as though by 
accident. Hands, the captain of one of the consorts, pretending 
to come to his assistance, also grounded his sloop. Nothing now 
remained but for those who were able to get away in the other 
craft, which was all that was now left of the little fleet. This did 
Blackbeard with some forty of his favorites. The rest of the 
pirates were left on the sand spit to await the return of their com- 
panions which never happened. 


Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

As for Blackbeard and those who were with him, they were 
that much richer, for there were so many the fewer pockets to 
fill. But even yet there were too many to share the booty, in 
Blackbeard's opinion, and so he marooned a parcel more of them 
some eighteen or twenty upon a naked sand bank, from which 
they were afterward mercifully rescued by another freebooter 
who chanced that way a certain Major Stede Bonnet, of whom 
more will presently be said. About that time a royal proclamation 
had been issued offering pardon to all pirates in arms who would 
surrender to the king's authority before a given date. So up goes 
Master Blackbeard to the Governor of North Carolina and makes 
his neck safe by surrendering to the proclamation albeit he kept 
tight clutch upon what he had already gained. 

And now we find our bold Captain Blackbeard established 
in the good province of North Carolina, where he and His Worship 
the Governor struck up a vast deal of intimacy, as profitable as it 
was pleasant. There is something very pretty in the thought of 
the bold sea rover giving up his adventurous life (excepting now 
and then an excursion against a trader or two in the neighboring 
sound, when the need of money was pressing); settling quietly 
down into the routine of old colonial life, with a young wife of 
sixteen at his side, who made the fourteenth that he had in various 
ports here and there in the world. 

Becoming tired of an inactive life, Blackbeard afterward 
resumed his piratical career. He cruised around in the rivers and 
inlets and sounds of North Carolina for a while, ruling the roost 
and with never a one to say him nay, until there was no bearing 
with such a pest any longer. So they sent a deputation up to the 
Governor of Virginia asking if he would be pleased to help them 
in their trouble. 

There were two men-of-war lying at Kicquetan, in the James 
River, at the time. To them the Governor of Virginia applies, 
and plucky Lieutenant Maynard, of the Pearl, was sent to Ocracoke 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

Inlet to fight this pirate who ruled it down there so like the cock 
of a walk. There he found Blackbeard waiting for him, and as 
ready for a fight as ever the lieutenant himself could be. Fight 
they did, and while it lasted it was as pretty a piece of business 
of its kind as one could wish to see. Blackbeard drained a glass of 
grog, wishing the lieutenant luck in getting aboard of him, fired 
a broadside, blew some twenty of the lieutenant's men out of 
existence, and totally crippled one of his little sloops for the balance 
of the fight. After that, and under cover of the smoke, the pirate 
and his men boarded the other sloop, and then followed a fine 
old-fashioned hand-to-hand conflict betwixt him and the lieutenant. 
First they fired their pistols, and then they took to it with cutlasses 
right, left, up and down, cut and slash until the lieutenant's 
cutlass broke short off at the hilt. Then Blackbeard would have 
finished him off handsomely, only up steps one of the lieutenant's 
men and fetches him a great slash over the neck, so that the lieu- 
tenant came off with no more hurt than a cut across the knuckles. 

At the very first discharge of their pistols Blackbeard had 
been shot through the body, but he was not for giving up for that 
not he. As said before, he was of the true roaring, raging breed 
of pirates, and stood up to it until he received twenty more cutlass 
cuts and five additional shots, and then fell dead while trying to 
fire off an empty pistol. After that the lieutenant cut off the 
pirate's head, and sailed away in triumph, with the bloody trophy 
nailed to the bow of his battered sloop. 

Those of Blackbeard's men who were not killed were carried 
off to Virginia, and all of them tried and hanged but one or two, 
their names, no doubt, still standing in a row in the provincial 

But did Blackbeard really bury treasures, as tradition says, along 
the sandy shores he haunted? 

Master Clement Downing, midshipman aboard the Salisbury, 
wrote a book after his return from the cruise to Madagascar, 


Blackboard Buries His Treasure 

Illustration from 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published in 

HARPER'S MAGAZINE, August and September, 1S87 

Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

whither the Salisbury had been ordered, to put an end to the piracy 
with which those waters were infested. He says: 

"At Guzarat I met with a Portuguese named Anthony de 
Sylvestre; he came with two other Portuguese and two Dutchmen 
to take on in the Moor's service, as many Europeans do. This 
Anthony told me he had been among the pirates, and that he 
belonged to one of the sloops in Virginia when Blackbeard was 
taken. He informed me that if it should be my lot ever to go to 
York River or Maryland, near an island called Mulberry Island, 
provided we went on shore at the watering place, where the shipping 
used most commonly to ride, that there the pirates had buried 
considerable sums of money in great chests well clamped with 
iron plates. As tu my part, I never was that way, nor much 
acquainted with any that ever used those parts; but I have made 
inquiry, and am informed that there is such a place as Mulberry 
Island. If any person who uses those parts should think it worth 
while to dig a little way at the upper end of a small cove, where 
it is convenient to land, he would soon find whether the information 
I had was well grounded. Fronting the landing place are five trees, 
among which, he said, the money was hid. I cannot warrant the 
truth of this account; but if I was ever to go there, I should find 
some means or other to satisfy myself, as it could not be a great 
deal out of my way. If anybody should obtain the benefit of this 
account, if it please God that they ever come to England, 'tis hoped 
they will remember whence they had this information." 

Another worthy was Capt. Edward Low, who learned his trade 
of sail-making at good old Boston town, and piracy at Honduras. 
No one stood higher in the trade than he, and no one mounted to 
more lofty altitudes of bloodthirsty and unscrupulous wicked- 
ness. "Tis strange that so little has been written and sung of 
this man of might, for he was as worthy of story and of song as 
Was Blackbeard. 

It was under a Yankee captain that he made his first cruise 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

down to Honduras, for a cargo of logwood, which in those times 
was no better than stolen from the Spanish folk. 

One day, lying off the shore, in the Gulf of Honduras, comes 
Master Low and the crew of the whaleboat rowing across from 
the beach, where they had been all morning chopping logwood. 

"What are you after?" says the captain, for they were coming 
back with nothing but themselves in the boat. 

"We're after our dinner," says Low, as spokesman of the party. 

"You'll have no dinner," says the captain, "until you fetch 
off another load." 

"Dinner or no dinner, we'll pay for it," says Low, wherewith 
he up with a musket, squinted along the barrel, and pulled the 

Luckily the gun hung fire, and the Yankee captain was spared 
to steal logwood a while longer. 

All the same, that was no place for Ned Low to make a longer 
stay, so off he and his messmates rowed in a whaleboat, captured 
a brig out at sea, and turned pirates. 

He presently fell in with the notorious Captain Lowther, a 
fellow after his own kidney, who put the finishing touches to his 
education and taught him what wickedness he did not already 

And so he oecame a master pirate, and a famous hand at his 
craft, and thereafter forever bore an inveterate hatred of all Yankees 
because of the dinner he had lost, and never failed to smite whatever 
|one of them luck put within his reach. Once he fell in with a 
ship off South Carolina the Amsterdam Merchant, Captain William- 
son, commander a Yankee craft and a Yankee master. He slit 
the nose and cropped the ears of the captain, and then sailed 
merrily away, feeling the better for having marred a Yankee. 

New York and New England had more than one visit from the 
doughty captain, each of which visits they had good cause to 
remember, for he made them smart for it. 


Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

Along in the year 1722 thirteen vessels were riding at anchor in 
front of the good town of Marblehead. Into the harbor sailed a 
strange craft. "Who is she?" say the townsfolk, for the coming 
of a new vessel was no small matter in those days. 

Who the strangers were was not long a matter of doubt. Up 
goes the black flag, and the skull and crossbones to the fore. 

" "Pis the bloody Low," say one and all; and straightway all 
was flutter and commotion, as in a duck pond when a hawk pitches 
and strikes in the midst. 

It was a glorious thing for our captain, for here were thirteen 
Yankee crafts at one and the same time. So he took what he 
wanted, and then sailed away, and it was many a day before 
Marblehead forgot that visit. 

Some time after this he and his consort fell foul of an English 
sloop of war, the Greyhound, whereby they were so roughly handled 
that Low was glad enough to slip away, leaving his consort and her 
crew behind him, as a sop to the powers of law and order. And 
lucky for them if no worse fate awaited them than to walk the 
dreadful plank with a bandage around the blinded eyes and a rope 
around the elbows. So the consort was taken, and the crew tried 
and hanged in chains, and Low sailed off in as pretty a bit of rage 
as ever a pirate fell into. 

The end of this worthy is lost in the fogs of the past: some 
say that he died of a yellow fever down in New Orleans; it was 
not at the end of a hempen cord, more's the pity. 

Here fittingly with our strictly American pirates should stand 
Major Stede Bonnet along with the rest. But in truth he was 
only a poor half-and-half fellow of his kind, and even after his 
hand was fairly turned to the business he had undertaken, a qualm 
of conscience would now and then come across him, and he would 
make vast promises to forswear his evil courses. 

However, he jogged along in his course of piracy snugly enough 
until he fell foul of the gallant Colonel Rhett, off Charleston Harbor, 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

whereupon his luck and his courage both were suddenly snuffed 
out with a puff of powder smoke and a good rattling broadside. 
Down came the "Black Roger" with its skull and crossbones from 
the fore, and Colonel Rhett had the glory of fetching back as pretty 
a cargo of scoundrels and cutthroats as the town ever saw. 

After the next assizes they were strung up, all in a row ev>> 
apples ready for the roasting. 

"Ned" England was a fellow of different blood only he 
snapped his whip across the back of society over in the East 
Indies and along the hot shores of Hindustan. 

The name of Capt. Howel Davis stands high among his fellows. 
He was the Ulysses of pirates, the beloved not only of Mercury, 
but of Minerva. 

He it was who hoodwinked the captain of a French ship of 
double the size and strength of his own, and fairly cheated him 
into the surrender of his craft without the firing of a single pistol 
or the striking of a single blow; he it was who sailed boldly into 
the port of Gambia, on the coast of Guinea, and under the guns 
of the castle, proclaiming himself as a merchant trading for slaves. 

The cheat was kept up until the fruit of mischief was ripe for 
the picking; then, when the governor and the guards of the castle 
were lulled into entire security, and when Davis's band was scat- 
tered about wherever each man could do the most good, it was 
out pistol, up cutlass, and death if a finger moved. They tied the 
soldiers back to back, and the governor to his own armchair, and 
then rifled wherever it pleased them. After that they sailed away, 
and though they had not made the fortune they had hoped to 
glean, it was a good snug round sum that they shared among them. 

Their courage growing high with success, they determined to 
attempt the island of Del Principe a prosperous Portuguese 
settlement on the coast. The plan for taking the place was cleverly 
laid, and would have succeeded, only that a Portuguese negro 
imong the pirate crew turned traitor and carried the news ashore 


Walking the Plank 

Illustration from 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published in 

HARPER'S MAGAZINE, August and September, 1887 

Buccaneers and Marooners of the Spanish Main 

to the governor of the fort. Accordingly, the next day, when 
Captain Davis came ashore, he found there a good strong guard 
drawn up as though to honor his coming. But after he and those 
with him were fairly out of their boat, and well away from the water 
side, there was a sudden rattle of musketry, a cloud of smoke, and 
a dull groan or two. Only one man ran out from under that 
pungent cloud, jumped into the boat, and rowed away; and when 
it lifted, there lay Captain Davis and his companions all of a heap, 
like a pile of old clothes. 

Capt. Bartholomew Roberts was the particular and especial 
pupil of Davis, and when that worthy met his death so suddenly 
and so unexpectedly in the unfortunate manner above narrated, 
he was chosen unanimously as the captain of the fleet, and he was 
a worthy pupil of a worthy master. Many were the poor fluttering 
merchant ducks that this sea hawk swooped upon and struck; 
and cleanly and cleverly were they plucked before his savage clutch 
loosened its hold upon them. 

"He made a gallant figure," says the old narrator, "being 
dressed in a rich crimson waistcoat and breeches and red feather 
in his hat, a gold chain around his neck, with a diamond cross 
hanging to it, a sword in his hand, and two pair of pistols hanging 
at the end of a silk sling flung over his shoulders according to the 
fashion of the pyrates." Thus he appeared in the last engagement 
which he fought that with the Swallow a royal sloop of war. 
A gallant fight they made of it, those bulldog pirates, for, finding 
themselves caught in a trap betwixt the man-of-war and the shore, 
they determined to bear down upon the king's vessel, fire a slapping 
broadside into her, and then try to get away, trusting to luck in the 
doing, and hoping that their enemy might be crippled by their fire. 

Captain Roberts himself was the first to fall at the return fire 
of the Swalloic; a grapeshot struck him in the neck, and he fell 
forward across the gun near to which he was standing at the time. 
A certain fellow named Stevenson, who was at the helm, saw him 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

fall, and thought he was wounded. At the lifting of the arm 
the body rolled over upon the deck, and the man saw that the 
captain was dead. "Whereupon," says the old history, "he" 
[Stevenson] "gushed into tears, and wished that the next shot 
might be his portion." After their captain's death the pirate crew 
had no stomach for more fighting; the "Black Roger" was struck, 
and one and all surrendered to justice and the gallows. 

Such is a brief and bald account of the most famous of these 
pirates. But they are only a few of a long list of notables, such as 
Captain Martel, Capt. Charles Vane (who led the gallant Colonel 
Rhett, of South Carolina, such a wild-goose chase in and out among 
the sluggish creeks and inlets along the coast), Capt. John Rackam, 
and Captain Anstis, Captain Worley, and Evans, and Philips, and 
others a score or more of wild fellows whose very names made 
ship captains tremble in their shoes in those good old times. 

And such is that black chapter of history of the past an evil 
chapter, lurid with cruelty and suffering, stained with blood and 
smoke. Yet it is a written chapter, and it must be read. He who 
chooses may read betwixt the lines of history this great truth: 
Evil itself is an instrument toward the shaping of good. Therefore 
the history of evil as well as the history of good should be read, 
considered, and digested. 

Chapter II 


T is not so easy to tell why discredit should be cast 
upon a man because of something that his grand- 
father may have done amiss, but the world, which is 
never overnice in its discrimination as to where to 
lay the blame, is often pleased to make the innocent 
suffer in the place of the guilty. 

Barnaby True was a good, honest, biddable lad, as boys go, 
but yet he was not ever allowed altogether to forget that his grand- 
father had been that very famous pirate, Capt. William Brand, 
who, after so many marvelous adventures (if one may believe the 
catchpenny stories and ballads that were written about him), was 
murdered in Jamaica by Capt. John Malyoe, the commander of 
his own consort, the Adventure galley. 

It has never been denied, that ever I heard, that up to the 
time of Captain Brand's being commissioned against the South 
Sea pirates he had always been esteemed as honest, reputable a 
sea captain as could be. 

When he started out upon that adventure it was with a ship, 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

the Royal Sovereign, fitted out by some of the most decent merchants 
of New York. The governor himself had subscribed to the ad- 
venture, and had himself signed Captain Brand's commission. 
So, if the unfortunate man went astray, he must have had great 
temptation to do so, many others behaving no better when the 
opportunity offered in those far-away seas where so many rich 
purchases might very easily be taken and no one the wiser. 

To be sure, those stories and ballads made our captain to be 
a most wicked, profane wretch; and if he were, why, God knows he 
suffered and paid for it, for he laid his bones in Jamaica, and never 
saw his home or his wife and daughter again after he had sailed 
away on the Royal Sovereign on that long misfortunate voyage, 
leaving them in New York to the care of strangers. 

At the time when he met his fate in Port Royal Harbor he 
had obtained two vessels under his command the Royal Sovereign, 
which was the boat fitted out for him in New York, and the Adven- 
ture galley, which he was said to have taken somewhere in the 
South Seas. With these he lay in those waters of Jamaica for 
over a month after his return from the coasts of Africa, waiting 
for news from home, which, when it came, was of the very blackest; 
for the colonial authorities were at that time stirred up very hot 
against him to take him and hang him for a pirate, so as to clear 
their own skirts for having to do with such a fellow. So maybe 
it seemed better to our captain to hide his ill-gotten treasure there 
in those far-away parts, and afterward to try and bargain with it 
for his life when he should reach New York, rather than to sail 
straight for the Americas with what he had earned by his piracies, 
and so risk losing life and money both. 

However that might be, the story was that Captain Brand 
and his gunner, and Captain Malyoe of the Adventure and the sailing 
master of the Adventure all went ashore together with a chest of 
money (no one of them choosing to trust the other three in so nice 
an affair), and buried the treasure somewhere on the beach of 


Captain Malyoe Shot Captain Brand 
Through the Head" 

Illustration from 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published in 
HARPER'S WEEKLY, December 19, 1896 

The Ghost of Captain Brand 

Port Royal Harbor. The story then has it that they fell a-quarrel- 
ing about a future division of the money, and that, as a wind-up 
to the affair, Captain Malyoe shot Captain Brand through the 
head, while the sailing master of the Adventure served the gunner 
of the Royal Sovereign after the same fashion through the body, 
and that the murderers then went away, leaving the two stretched 
out in their own blood on the sand in the staring sun, with no one 
to know where the money was hid but they two who had served 
their comrades so. 

It is a mighty great pity that anyone should have a grand- 
father who ended his days in such a sort as this, but it was no 
fault of Barnaby True's, nor could he have done anything to pre- 
vent it, seeing that he was not even born into the world at the time 
that his grandfather turned pirate, and was only one year old 
when he so met his tragical end. Nevertheless, the boys with 
whom he went to school never tired of calling him "Pirate," and 
would sometimes sing for his benefit that famous catchpenny song 
beginning thus: 

Oh, my name was Captain Brand, 


And a-sailing; 
Oh, my name was Captain Brand, 

A-sailing free. 

Oh, my name was Captain Brand, 
And I sinned by sea and land, 
For I broke God's just command, 

A-sailing free. 

'Twas a vile thing to sing at the grandson of so misfortunate a 
man, and oftentimes little Barnaby True would double up his 
fists and would fight his tormentors at great odds, and would 
sometimes go back home with a bloody nose to have his poor 
mother cry over him and grieve for him. 

Not that his days were all of teasing and torment, neither; 
for if his comrades did treat him so, why, then, there were other 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

times when he and they were as great friends as could be, and 
would go in swimming together where there was a bit of sandy 
strand along the East River above Fort George, and that in the 
most amicable fashion. Or, maybe the very next day after he had 
fought so with b;s fellows, he would go a-rambling with them up the 
Bowerie Road, perhaps to help them steal cherries from some old 
Dutch farmer, forgetting in such adventure what a thief his own 
grandfather had been. 

Well, when Barnaby True was between sixteen and seventeen 
years old he was taken into employment in the countinghouse 
of Mr. Roger Hartright, the well-known West India merchant, and 
Barnaby's own stepfather. 

It was the kindness of this good man that not only found a 
place for Barnaby in the countinghouse, but advanced him so 
fast that against our hero was twenty-one years old he had made 
four voyages as supercargo to the West Indies in Mr. Hartright's 
5hip, the Belle Helen, and soon after he was twenty-one undertook 
& {fr'th. Nor was it in any such subordinate position as mere super- 
cargo that he acted, but rather as the confidential agent of Mr. 
Hartright, who, having no children of his own, was very jealous 
to advance our hero into a position of trust and responsibility in 
the countinghouse, as though he were indeed a son, so that even 
the captain of the ship had scarcely more consideration aboard 
than he, young as he was in years. 

As for the agents and correspondents of Mr. Hartright through- 
out these parts, they also, knowing how the good man had adopted 
his interests, were very polite and obliging to Master Barnaby 
especially, be it mentioned, Mr. Ambrose Greenfield, of Kingston, 
Jamaica, who, upon the occasions of his visits to those parts, 
did all that he could to make Barnaby's stay in that town agreeable 
and pleasant to him. 

So much for the history of our hero to the time of the be- 
ginning of this story, without which you shall hardly be able to 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

understand the purport of those most extraordinary adventures 
that befell him shortly after he came of age, nor the logic of their 
consequence after they had occurred. 

For it was during his fifth voyage to the West Indies that the 
first of those extraordinary adventures happened of which I shall 
have presently to tell. 

At that time he had been in Kingston for the best part of four 
weeks, lodging at the house of a very decent, respectable widow, 
by name Mrs. Anne Bolles, who, with three pleasant and agreeable 
daughters, kept a very clean and well-served lodging house in the 
outskirts of the town. 

One morning, as our hero sat sipping his coffee, clad only in 
loose cotton drawers, a shirt, and a jacket, and with slippers upon 
his feet, as is the custom in that country, where everyone endeavors 
to keep as cool as may be while he sat thus sipping his coffee 
Miss Eliza, the youngest of the three daughters, came and gave 
him a note, which, she said, a stranger had just handed in at the 
door, going away again without waiting for a reply. You may 
judge of Barnaby's surprise when he opened the note and read 
as follows: 


Sra, Though you don't know me, I know you, and I tell you this: if 
you will be at Pratt's Ordinary on Harbor Street on Friday next at eight o'clock 
of the evening, and will accompany the man who shall say to you, "The Royal 
Sovereign is come in," you shall learn something the most to your advantage 
that ever befell you. Sir, keep this note, and show it to him who shall address 
these words to you, so to certify that you are the man he seeks. 

Such was the wording of the note, which was without address, 
and without any superscription whatever. 

The first emotion that stirred Barnaby was one of extreme 
and profound amazement. Then the thought came into his mind 
that some witty fellow, of whom he knew a good many in that town 
and wild, waggish pranks they were was attempting to play 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

off some smart jest upon him. But all that Miss Eliza could tell 
him when he questioned her concerning the messenger was that the 
bearer of the note was a tall, stout man, with a red neckerchief around 
his neck and copper buckles to his shoes, and that he had the ap- 
pearance of a sailorman, having a great big queue hanging down his 
back. But, Lord! what was such a description as that in a busy 
seaport town, full of scores of men to fit such a likeness? Accord- 
ingly, our hero put away the note into his wallet, determining to 
show it to his good friend Mr. Greenfield that evening, and to ask 
his advice upon it. So he did show it, and that gentleman's opinion 
was the same as his that some wag was minded to play off a hoax 
upon him, and that the matter of the letter was all nothing but 

Nevertheless, though Barnaby was thus confirmed in his 
opinion as to the nature of the communication he had received, 
he yet determined in his own mind that he would see the business 
through to the end, and would be at Pratt's Ordinary, as the note 
demanded, upon the day and at the time specified therein. 

Pratt's Ordinary was at that time a very fine and well-known 
place of its sort, with good tobacco and the best rum that ever I 
tasted, and had a garden behind it that, sloping down to the harbor 
front, was planted pretty thick with palms and ferns grouped into 
clusters with flowers and plants. Here were a number of little 
tables, some in little grottoes, like our Vauxhall in New York, and 
with red and blue and white paper lanterns hung among the foliage, 
whither gentlemen and ladies used sometimes to go of an evening 
to sit and drink lime juice and sugar and water (and sometimes a 
taste of something stronger), and to look out across the water at 
the shipping in the cool of the night. 

Thither, accordingly, our hero went, a little before the time 
appointed in the note, and passing directly through the Ordinary 
and the garden beyond, chose a table at the lower end of the garden 
and close to the water's edge, where he would not be easily seen 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

by anyone coming into the place. Then, ordering some rum and 
water and a pipe of tobacco, he composed himself to watch for the 
appearance of those witty fellows whom he suspected would pres- 
ently come thither to see the end of then' prank and to enjoy his 

The spot was pleasant enough; for the land breeze, blowing 
strong and full, set the leaves of the palm tree above his head to 
rattling and clattering continually against the sky, where, the 
moon then being about full, they shone every now and then like 
blades of steel. The waves also were splashing up against the 
little landing place at the foot of the garden, sounding very cool 
in the night, and sparkling all over the harbor where the moon caught 
the edges of the water. A great many vessels were lying at anchor 
in their ridings, with the dark, prodigious form of a man-of-war 
looming up above them in the moonlight. 

There our hero sat for the best part of an hour, smoking his 
pipe of tobacco and sipping his grog, and seeing not so much as a 
single thing that might concern the note he had received. 

It was not far from half an hour after the time appointed 
in the note, when a rowboat came suddenly out of the night and 
pulled up to the landing place at the foot of the garden above 
mentioned, and three or four men came ashore in the darkness. 
Without saying a word among themselves they chose a near-by 
table and, sitting down, ordered rum and water, and began drinking 
their grog in silence. They might have sat there about five minutes, 
when, by and by, Barnaby True became aware that they were 
observing him very curiously; and then almost immediately one, 
who was plainly the leader of the party, called out to him : 

"How now, messmate! Won't you come and drink a dram of 
rum with us?" 

"Why, no," says Barnaby, answering very civilly; "I have 
drunk enough already, and more would only heat my blood." 

"All the same," quoth the stranger, "I think you will come 
4 [45] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

and drink with us; for, unless I am mistook, you are Mr. Barnaby 
True, and I am come here to tell you that the Royal Sovereign is 
come in" 

Now I may honestly say that Barnaby True was never more 
struck aback in all his life than he was at hearing these words uttered 
in so unexpected a manner. He had been looking to hear them 
under such different circumstances that, now that his ears heard 
them addressed to him, and that so seriously, by a perfect stranger, 
who, with others, had thus mysteriously come ashore out of the 
darkness, he could scarce believe that his ears heard aright. His 
heart suddenly began beating at a tremendous rate, and had he 
been an older and wiser man, I do believe he would have declined 
the adventure, instead of leaping blindly, as he did, into that of 
which he could see neither the beginning nor the ending. But 
being barely one-and-twenty years of age, and having an adventur- 
ous disposition that would have carried him into almost anything 
that possessed a smack of uncertainty or danger about it, he con- 
trived to say, in a pretty easy tone (though God knows how it was 
put on for the occasion): 

"Well, then, if that be so, and if the Royal Sovereign is indeed 
come in, why, I'll join you, since you are so kind as to ask me." 
And therewith he went across to the other table, carrying his 
pipe with him, and sat down and began smoking, with all the 
appearance of ease he could assume upon the occasion. 

"Well, Mr. Barnaby True," said the man who had before 
addressed him, so soon as Barnaby had settled himself, speaking 
in a low tone of voice, so there would be no danger of any others 
hearing the words "Well, Mr. Barnaby True for I shall call 
you by your name, to show you that though I know you, you don't 
know me I am glad to see that you are man enough to enter thus 
into an affair, though you can't see to the bottom of it. For it 
shows me that you are a man of mettle, and are deserving of the 
fortune that is to befall you to-night. Nevertheless, first of all, 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

I am bid to say that you must show me a piece of paper that you 
have about you before we go a step farther." 

"Very well," said Barnaby; "I have it here safe and sound, 
and see it you shall." And thereupon and without more ado he 
fetched out his wallet, opened it, and handed his interlocutor the 
mysterious note he had received the day or two before. Whereupon 
the other, drawing to him the candle, burning there for the con- 
venience of those who would smoke tobacco, began immediately 
reading it. 

This gave Barnaby True a moment or two to look at him. 
He was a tall, stout man, with a red handkerchief tied around his 
neck, and with copper buckles on his shoes, so that Barnaby True 
could not but wonder whether he was not the very same man who 
had given the note to Miss Eliza Bolles at the door of his lodging 

" 'Tis all right and straight as it should be," the other said, 
after he had so glanced his eyes over the note. "And now that 
the paper is read" (suiting his action to his words), "I'll just burn 
it, for safety's sake." 

And so he did, twisting it up and setting it to the flame of 
the candle. 

"And now," he said, continuing his address, "I'll tell you 
what I am here for. I was sent to ask you if you're man enough to 
take your life in your own hands and to go with me in that boat 
down there? Say 'Yes,' and we'll start away without wasting more 
time, for the devil is ashore here at Jamaica though you don't 
know what that means and if he gets ahead of us, why, then we 
may whistle for what we are after. Say ' No,' and I go away again, 
and I promise you you shall never be troubled again in this sort. 
So now speak up plain, young gentleman, and tell us what is your 
mind in this business, and whether you will adventure any farther 
or not." 

If our hero hesitated it was not for long. I cannot say that 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

his courage did not waver for a moment; but if it did, it was, I 
say, not for long, and when he spoke up it was with a voice as 
steady as could be. 

"To be sure I'm man enough to go with you," he said; "and 
if you mean me any harm I can look out for myself; and if I can't, 
why, here is something can look out for me," and therewith he 
lifted up the flap of his coat pocket and showed the butt of a pistol 
he had fetched with him when he had set out from his lodging house 
that evening. 

At this the other burst out a-laughing. "Come," says he, 
"yu are indeed of right mettle, and I like your spirit. All the 
same, no one in all the world means you less ill than I, and so, 
if you have to use that barker, 'twill not be upon us who are your 
friends, but only upon one who is more wicked than the devil 
himself. So come, and let us get away." 

Thereupon he and the others, who had not spoken a single 
word for all this time, rose from the table, and he having paid the 
scores of all, they all went down together to the boat that still 
lay at the landing place at the bottom of the garden. 

Thus coming to it, our hero could see that it was a large yawl 
boat manned with half a score of black men for rowers, and there 
were two lanterns in the stern sheets, and three or four iron shovels. 
The man who had conducted the conversation with Barnaby 
True for all this time, and who was, as has been said, plainly the 
captain of the party, stepped immediately down into the boat; 
our hero followed, and the others followed after him; and instantly 
they were seated the boat was shoved off and the black men began 
pulling straight out into the harbor, and so, at some distance away, 
around under the stern of the man-of-war. 

Not a word was spoken after they had thus left the shore, and 
presently they might all have been ghosts, for the silence of the 
party. Barnaby True was too full of his own thoughts to talk 
and serious enough thoughts they were by this time, with crimps 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

to trepan a man at every turn, and press gangs to carry a man off 
so that he might never be heard of again. As for the others, they 
did not seem to choose to say anything now that they had him 
fairly embarked upon their enterprise. 

And so the crew pulled on in perfect silence for the best part 
of an hour, the leader of the expedition directing the course of the 
boat straight across the harbor, as though toward the mouth of 
the Rio Cobra River. Indeed, this was their destination, as 
Barnaby could after a while see, by the low point of land with a 
great long row of coconut palms upon it (the appearance of which 
he knew very well), which by and by began to loom up out of the 
milky dimness of the moonlight. As they approached the river 
they found the tide was running strong out of it, so that some 
distance away from the stream it gurgled and rippled alongside 
the boat as the crew of black men pulled strongly against it. Thus 
they came up under what was either a point of land or an islet 
covered with a thick growth of mangrove trees. But still no one 
spoke a single word as to their destination, or what was the business 
they had in hand. 

The night, now that they were close to the shore, was loud 
with the noise of running tide-water, and the air was heavy with 
the smell of mud and marsh, and over all the whiteness of the 
moonlight, with a few stars pricking out here and there in the sky; 
and all so strange and silent and mysterious that Barnaby could 
not divest himself of the feeling that it was all a dream. 

So, the rowers bending to the oars, the boat came slowly around 
from under the clump of mangrove bushes and out into the open 
water again. 

Instantly it did so the leader of the expedition called out in a 
sharp voice, and the black men instantly lay on their oars. 

Almost at the same instant Barnaby True became aware that 
there was another boat coming down the river toward where they 
lay, now drifting with the strong tide out into the harbor again, 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

and he knew that it was because of the approach of that boat that 
the other had called upon his men to cease rowing. 

The other boat, as well as he could see in the distance, was 
full of men, some of whom appeared to be armed, for even in the 
dusk of the darkness the shine of the moonlight glimmered sharply 
now and then on the barrels of muskets or pistols, and in the silence 
that followed after their own rowing had ceased Barnaby True 
could hear the chug! chug! of the oars sounding louder and louder 
through the watery stillness of the night as the boat drew nearer 
and nearer. But he knew nothing of what it all meant, nor whether 
these others were friends or enemies, or what was to happen next. 

The oarsmen of the approaching boat did not for a moment 
cease their rowing, not till they had come pretty close to Barnaby 
and his companions. Then a man who sat in the stern ordered 
them to cease rowing, and as they lay on their oars he stood up. 
As they passed by, Barnaby True could see him very plain, the 
moonlight shining full upon him a large, stout gentleman with a 
round red face, and clad in a fine laced coat of red cloth. Amidship 
of the boat was a box or chest about the bigness of a middle-sized 
traveling trunk, but covered all over with cakes of sand and dirt. 
In the act of passing, the gentleman, still standing, pointed at it 
with an elegant gold-headed cane which he held in his hand. "Are 
you come after this, Abraham Dawling?" says he, and thereat his 
countenance broke into as evil, malignant a grin as ever Barnaby 
True saw in all of his life. 

The other did not immediately reply so much as a single word, 
but sat as still as any stone. Then, at last, the other boat having 
gone by, he suddenly appeared to regain his wits, for he bawled 
out after it, "Very well, Jack Malyoe! very well, Jack Malyoe! 
you've got ahead of us this time again, but next time is the third, 
and then it shall be our turn, even if William Brand must come 
back from hell to settle with you." 

This he shouted out as the other boat passed farther and 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

farther away, but to it my fine gentleman made no reply except 
to burst out into a great roaring fit of laughter. 

There was another man among the armed men in the stern 
of the passing boat a villainous, lean man with lantern jaws, and 
the top of his head as bald as the palm of my hand. As the boat 
went away into the night with the tide and the headway the oars 
had given it, he grinned so that the moonlight shone white on his 
big teeth. Then, flourishing a great big pistol, he said, and Barnaby 
could hear every word he spoke, "Do but give me the word, Your 
Honor, and I'll put another bullet through the son of a sea cook." 

But the gentleman said some words to forbid him, and therewith 
the boat was gone away into the night, and presently Barnaby 
could hear that the men at the oars had begun rowing again, leaving 
them lying there, without a single word being said for a long time. 

By and by one of those in Barnaby 's boat spoke up. "Where 
shall you go now?" he said. 

At this the leader of the expedition appeared suddenly to 
come back to himself, and to find his voice again. "Go?" he 
roared out. "Go to the devil! Go? Go where you choose! Go? 
Go back again that's where we'll go!" and therewith he fell 
a-cursing and swearing until he foamed at the lips, as though he 
had gone clean crazy, while the black men began rowing back 
again across the harbor as fast as ever they could lay oars into the 

They put Barnaby True ashore below the old custom house; 
but so bewildered and shaken was he by all that had happened, 
and by what he had seen, and by the names that he heard spoken, 
that he was scarcely conscious of any of the familiar things among 
which he found himself thus standing. And so he walked up the 
moonlit street toward his lodging like one drunk or bewildered; 
for "John Malyoe" was the name of the captain of the Adventure 
galley he who had shot Barnaby 's own grandfather and "Abra- 
ham Dawling" was the name of the gunner of the Royal Sovereign 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

who had been shot at the same time with the pirate captain, and 
who, with him, had been left stretched out in the staring sun by 
the murderers. 

The whole business had occupied hardly two hours, but it 
was as though that time was no part of Barnaby's life, but all a 
part of some other life, so dark and strange and mysterious that it 
in no wise belonged to him. 

As for that box covered all over with mud, he could only 
guess at that time what it contained and what the finding of it 

But of this our hero said nothing to anyone, nor did he tell a 
single living soul what he had seen that night, but nursed it in his 
own mind, where it lay so big for a while that he could think of 
little or nothing else for days after. 

Mr. Greenfield, Mr. Hartright's correspondent and agent in 
these parts, lived in a fine brick house just out of the town, on the 
Mona Road, his family consisting of a wife and two daughters 
brisk, lively young ladies with black hair and eyes, and very fine 
bright teeth that shone whenever they laughed, and with a plenty 
to say for themselves. Thither Barnaby True was often asked to 
a family dinner; and, indeed, it was a pleasant home to visit, and 
to sit upon the veranda and smoke a cigarro with the good old 
gentleman and look out toward the mountains, while the young 
ladies laughed and talked, or played upon the guitar and sang. 
And oftentimes so it was strongly upon Barnaby's mind to speak 
to the good gentleman and tell him what he had beheld that night 
out in the harbor; but always he would think better of it and hold 
his peace, falling to thinking, and smoking away upon his cigarro 
at a great rate. 

A day or two before the Belle Helen sailed from Kingston 
Mr. Greenfield stopped Barnaby True as he was going through the 
office to bid him to come to dinner that night (for there within the 
tropics they breakfast at eleven o'clock and take dinner in the cool 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

of the evening, because of the heat, and not at midday, as we do 
in more temperate latitudes). "I would have you meet," says 
Mr. Greenfield, "your chief passenger for New York, and his grand- 
daughter, for whom the state cabin and the two staterooms are 
to be fitted as here ordered [showing a letter] Sir John Malyoe 
and Miss Marjorie Malyoe. Did you ever hear tell of Capt. 
Jack Malyoe, Master Barnaby?" 

Now I do believe that Mr. Greenfield had no notion at all 
that old Captain Brand was Barnaby True's own grandfather and 
Capt. John Malyoe his murderer, but when he so thrust at him the 
name of that man, what with that in itself and the late adventure 
through which he himself had just passed, and with his brooding 
upon it until it was so prodigiously big in his mind, it was like hitting 
him a blow to so fling the questions at him. Nevertheless, he was 
able to reply, with a pretty straight face, that he had heard of 
Captain Malyoe and who he was. 

"Well," says Mr. Greenfield, "if Jack Malyoe was a desperate 
pirate and a wild, reckless blade twenty years ago, why, he is 
Sir John Malyoe now and the owner of a fine estate in Devonshire. 
Well, Master Barnaby, when one is a baronet and come into the 
inheritance of a fine estate (though I do hear it is vastly cumbered 
with debts), the world will wink its eye to much that he may have 
done twenty years ago. I do hear say, though, that his own kin 
still turn the cold shoulder to him." 

To this address Barnaby answered nothing, but sat smoking 
away at his cigarro at a great rate. 

And so that night Barnaby True came face to face for the 
first time with the man who murdered his own grandfather the 
greatest beast of a man that ever he met in all of his life. 

That time in the harbor he had seen Sir John Malyoe at a 
distance and in the darkness; now that he beheld him near by 
it seemed to him that he had never looked at a more evil face in 
all his life. Not that the man was altogether ugly, for he had a 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

good nose and a fine double chin; but his eyes stood out like balls 
and were red and watery, and he winked them continually, as 
though they were always smarting; and his lips were thick and pur- 
ple-red, and his fat, red cheeks were mottled here and there with 
little clots of purple veins; and when he spoke his voice rattled so 
in his throat that it made one wish to clear one's own throat to 
listen to him. So, what with a pair of fat, white hands, and that 
hoarse voice, and his swollen face, and his thick lips sticking out, 
it seemed to Barnaby True he had never seen a countenance so dis- 
tasteful to him as that one into which he then looked. 

But if Sir John Malyoe was so displeasing to our hero's taste, 
why, the granddaughter, even this first time he beheld her, seemed 
to him to be the most beautiful, lovely young lady that ever he 
saw. She had a thin, fair skin, red lips, and yellow hair though 
it was then powdered pretty white for the occasion and the bluest 
eyes that Barnaby beheld in all of his life. A sweet, timid creature, 
who seemed not to dare so much as to speak a word for herself 
without looking to Sir John for leave to do so, and would shrink 
and shudder whenever he would speak of a sudden to her or direct 
a sudden glance upon her. When she did speak, it was in so 
low a voice that one had to bend his head to hear her, and even 
if she smiled would catch herself and look up as though to see if 
she had leave to be cheerful. 

As for Sir John, he sat at dinner like a pig, and gobbled and 
ate and drank, smacking his lips all the while, but with hardly a 
word to either her or Mrs. Greenfield or to Barnaby True; but 
with a sour, sullen air, as though he would say, "Your damned 
victuals and drink are no better than they should be, but I must 
eat 'em or nothing." A great bloated beast of a man! 

Only after dinner was over and the young lady and the two 
misses sat off in a corner together did Barnaby hear her talk with 
any ease. Then, to be sure, her tongue became loose, and she 
prattled away at a great rate, though hardly above her breath, 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

until of a sudden her grandfather called out, in his hoarse, rattling 
voice, that it was time to go. Whereupon she stopped short in 
what she was saying and jumped up from her chair, looking as 
frightened as though she had been caught in something amiss, 
and was to be punished for it. 

Barnaby True and Mr. Greenfield both went out to see the 
two into their coach, where Sir John's man stood holding the 
lantern. And who should he be, to be sure, but that same lean 
villain with bald head who had offered to shoot the leader of our 
hero's expedition out on the harbor that night! For, one of the 
circles of light from the lantern shining up into his face, Barnaby 
True knew him the moment he clapped eyes upon him. Though 
he could not have recognized our hero, he grinned at him in the 
most impudent, familiar fashion, and never so much as touched his 
hat either to him or to Mr. Greenfield; but as soon as his master 
and his young mistress had entered the coach, banged to the door 
and scrambled up on the seat alongside the driver, and so away 
without a word, but with another impudent grin, this time favoring 
both Barnaby and the old gentleman. 

Such were these two, master and man, and what Barnaby 
saw of them then was only confirmed by further observation the 
most hateful couple he ever knew; though, God knows, what they 
afterward suffered should wipe out all complaint against them. 

The next day Sir John Malyoe's belongings began to come 
aboard the Belle Helen, and in the afternoon that same lean, villainous 
manservant comes skipping across the gangplank as nimble as a 
goat, with two black men behind him lugging a great sea chest. 
"What!" he cried out, "and so you is the supercargo, is you? 
Why, I thought you was more account when I saw you last night 
a-sitting talking with His Honor like his equal. Well, no matter; 
'tis something to have a brisk, genteel young fellow for a supercargo. 
So come, my hearty, lend a hand, will you, and help me set His 
Honor's cabin to rights." 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

What a speech was this to endure from such a fellow, to be 
sure! and Barnaby so high in his own esteem, and holding himself 
a gentleman! Well, what with his distaste for the villain, and 
what with such odious familiarity, you can guess into what temper 
so impudent an address must have cast him. "You'll find the 
steward in yonder," he said, "and he'll show you the cabin," and 
therewith turned and walked away with prodigious dignity, leaving 
the other standing where he was. 

As he entered his own cabin he could not but see, out of 
the tail of his eye, that the fellow was still standing where 
he had left him, regarding him with a most evil, malevolent 
countenance, so that he had the satisfaction of knowing that 
he had made one enemy during that voyage who was not very 
likely to forgive or forget what he must regard as a slight put 
upon him. 

The next day Sir John Malyoe himself came aboard, accom- 
panied by his granddaughter, and followed by this man, and he 
followed again by four black men, who carried among them two 
trunks, not large in size, but prodigious heavy in weight, and 
toward which Sir John and his follower devoted the utmost solicitude 
and care to see that they were properly carried into the state cabin 
he was to occupy. Barnaby True was standing in the great cabin 
as they passed close by him; but though Sir John Malyoe looked 
hard at him and straight in the face, he never so much as spoke 
a single word, or showed by a look or a sign that he knew who our 
hero was. At this the serving man, who saw it all with eyes as 
quick as a cat's, fell to grinning and chuckling to see Barnaby in 
his turn so slighted. 

The young lady, who also saw it all, flushed up red, then in the 
instant of passing looked straight at our hero, and bowed and 
smiled at him with a most sweet and gracious affability, then the 
next moment recovering herself, as though mightily frightened at 
what she had done. 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

The same day the Belle Helen sailed, with as beautiful, sweet 
weather as ever a body could wish for. 

There were only two other passengers aboard, the Rev. Simon 
Styles, the master of a flourishing academy in Spanish Town, and 
his wife, a good, worthy old couple, but very quiet, and would 
sit in the great cabin by the hour together reading, so that, what 
with Sir John Malyoe staying all the time in his own cabin with 
those two trunks he held so precious, it fell upon Barnaby True in 
great part to show attention to the young lady; and glad enough 
he was of the opportunity, as anyone may guess. For when you 
consider a brisk, lively young man of one-and-twenty and a sweet, 
beautiful miss of seventeen so thrown together day after day for 
two weeks, the weather being very fair, as I have said, and the 
ship tossing and bowling along before a fine humming breeze that 
sent white caps all over the sea, and with nothing to do but sit and 
look at that blue sea and the bright sky overhead, it is not hard to 
suppose what was to befall, and what pleasure it was to Barnaby 
True to show attention to her. 

But, oh! those days when a man is young, and, whether 
wisely or no, fallen in love! How often during that voyage did 
our hero lie awake in his berth at night, tossing this way and 
that without sleep not that he wanted to sleep if he could, 
but would rather lie so awake thinking about her and staring 
into the darkness! 

Poor fool! He might have known that the end must come to 
such a fool's paradise before very long. For who was he to look 
up to Sir John Malyoe's granddaughter, he, the supercargo of a 
merchant ship, and she the granddaughter of a baronet. 

Nevertheless, things went along very smooth and pleasant, 
until one evening, when all came of a sudden to an end. At that 
tune he and the young lady had been standing for a long while 
together, leaning over the rail and looking out across the water 
through the dusk toward the westward, where the sky was still 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

of a lingering brightness. She had been mightily quiet and dull 
all that evening, but now of a sudden she began, without any 
preface whatever, to tell Barnaby about herself and her affairs. 
She said that she and her grandfather were going to New York 
that they might take passage thence to Boston town, there to 
meet her cousin Captain Malyoe, who was stationed in garrison 
at that place. Then she went on to say that Captain Malyoe was 
the next heir to the Devonshire estate, and that she and he were 
to be married in the fall. 

But, poor Barnaby! what a fool was he, to be sure! Me- 
thinks when she first began to speak about Captain Malyoe he 
knew what was coming. But now that she had told him, he could 
say nothing, but stood there staring across the ocean, his breath 
coming hot and dry as ashes in his throat. She, poor thing, went 
on to say, in a very low voice, that she had liked him from the 
very first moment she had seen him, and had been very happy for 
these days, and would always think of him as a dear friend who had 
been very kind to her, who had so little pleasure in life, and so 
would always remember him. 

Then they were both silent, until at last Barnaby made shift 
to say, though in a hoarse and croaking voice, that Captain Malyoe 
must be a very happy man, and that if he were in Captain Malyoe's 
place he would be the happiest man in the world. Thus, having 
spoken, and so found his tongue, he went on to tell her, with his 
head all in a whirl, that he, too, loved her, and that what she had 
told him struck him to the heart, and made him the most miserable, 
unhappy wretch in the whole world. 

She was not angry at what he said, nor did she turn to look 
at him, but only said, in a low voice, he should not talk so, for that 
it could only be a pain to them both to speak of such things, and 
that whether she would or no, she must do everything as her 
grandfather bade her, for that he was indeed a terrible man. 

To this poor Barnaby could only repeat that he loved her with 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

all his heart, that he had hoped for nothing in his love, but that 
he was now the most miserable man in the world. 

It was at this moment, so tragic for him, that some one who 
had been hiding nigh them all the while suddenly moved away, 
and Barnaby True could see in the gathering darkness that it was 
that villain manservant of Sir John Malyoe's and knew that he 
must have overheard all that had been said. 

The man went straight to the great cabin, and poor Barnaby, 
his brain all atingle, stood looking after him, feeling that now indeed 
the last drop of bitterness had been added to his trouble to have 
such a wretch overhear what he had said. 

The young lady could not have seen the fellow, for she con- 
tinued leaning over the rail, and Barnaby True, standing at her 
side, not moving, but in such a tumult of many passions that he 
was like one bewildered, and his heart beating as though to smother 

So they stood for I know not how long when, of a sudden, 
Sir John Malyoe comes running out of the cabin, without his hat, 
but carrying his gold-headed cane, and so straight across the deck 
to where Barnaby and the young lady stood, that spying wretch 
close at his heels, grinning like an imp. 

"You hussy!" bawled out Sir John, so soon as he had come 
pretty near them, and in so loud a voice that all on deck might 
have heard the words; and as he spoke he waved his cane back 
and forth as though he would have struck the young lady, who, 
shrinking back almost upon the deck, crouched as though to escape 
such a blow. "You hussy!" he bawled out with vile oaths, too 
horrible here to be set down. "What do you do here with this 
Yankee supercargo, not fit for a gentlewoman to wipe her feet 
upon? Get to your cabin, you hussy" (only it was something worse 
he called her this time), "before I lay this cane across your 
shoulders ! " 

What with the whirling of Barnaby's brains and the passion 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

into which he was already melted, what with his despair and his 
love, and his anger at this address, a man gone mad could scarcely 
be less accountable for his actions than was he at that moment. 
Hardly knowing what he did, he put his hand against Sir John 
Malyoe's breast and thrust him violently back, crying out upon 
him in a great, loud, hoarse voice for threatening a young lady, 
and saying that for a farthing he would wrench the stick out of his 
hand and throw it overboard. 

Sir John went staggering back with the push Barnaby gave 
him, and then caught himself up again. Then, with a great bellow, 
ran roaring at our hero, whirling his cane about, and I do believe 
would have struck him (and God knows then what might have 
happened) had not his manservant caught him and held him back. 

"Keep back!" cried out our hero, still mighty hoarse. "Keep 
back! If you strike me with that stick I'll fling you overboard!" 

By this time, what with the sound of loud voices and the 
stamping of feet, some of the crew and others aboard were hurrying 
up, and the next moment Captain Manly and the first mate, 
Mr. Freesden, came running out of the cabin. But Barnaby, who 
was by this fairly set agoing, could not now stop himself. 

"And who are you, anyhow," he cried out, "to threaten to 
strike me and to insult me, who am as good as you? You dare not 
strike me! You may shoot a man from behind, as you shot poor 
Captain Brand on the Rio Cobra River, but you won't dare strike me 
face to face. I know who you are and what you are!" 

By this time Sir John Malyoe had ceased to endeavor to strike 
him, but stood stock-still, his great bulging eyes staring as though 
they would pop out of his head. 

"What's all this?" cries Captain Manly, bustling up to them 
with Mr. Freesden. "What does all this mean?" 

But, as I have said, our hero was too far gone now to contain 
himself until all that he had to say was out. 

"The damned villain insulted me and insulted the young lady," 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

he cried out, panting in the extremity of his passion, "and then 
he threatened to strike me with his cane. But I know who he is 
and what he is. I know what he's got in his cabin in those two 
trunks, and where he found it, and whom it belongs to. He found 
it on the shores of the Rio Cobra River, and I have only to open my 
mouth and tell what I know about it." 

At this Captain Manly clapped his hand upon our hero's 
shoulder and fell to shaking him so that he could scarcely stand, 
calling out to him the while to be silent. "What do you mean?" 
he cried. " An officer of this ship to quarrel with a passenger of 
mine! Go straight to your cabin, and stay there till I give you 
leave to come out again." 

At this Master Barnaby came somewhat back to himself and 
into his wits again with a jump. "But he threatened to strike me 
with his cane, Captain," he cried out, "and that I won't stand from 
any man!" 

"No matter what he did," said Captain Manly, very sternly. 
"Go to your cabin, as I bid you, and stay there till I tell you to 
come out again, and when we get to New York I'll take pains to 
tell your stepfather of how you have behaved. I'll have no such 
rioting as this aboard my ship." 

Barnaby True looked around him, but the young lady was gone. 
Nor, in the blindness of his frenzy, had he seen when she had gone 
nor whither she went. As for Sir John Malyoe, he stood in the 
light of a lantern, his face gone as white as ashes, and I do believe 
if a look could kill, the dreadful malevolent stare he fixed upon 
Barnaby True would have slain him where he stood. 

After Captain Manly had so shaken some wits into poor 
Barnaby he, unhappy wretch, went to his cabin, as he was bidden 
to do, and there, shutting the door upon himself, and flinging him- 
self down, all dressed as he was, upon his berth, yielded himself 
over to the profoundest passion of humiliation and despair. 

There he lay for I know not how long, staring into the darkness, 
5 [61] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

until by and by, in spite of his suffering and his despair, he dozed 
off into a loose sleep, that was more like waking than sleep, being 
possessed continually by the most vivid and distasteful dreams, 
from which he would awaken only to doze off and to dream again. 

It was from the midst of one of these extravagant dreams that 
he was suddenly aroused by the noise of a pistol shot, and then 
the noise of another and another, and then a great bump and a 
grinding jar, and then the sound of many footsteps running across 
the deck and down into the great cabin. Then came a tremendous 
uproar of voices in the great cabin, the struggling as of men's bodies 
being tossed about, striking violently against the partitions and 
bulkheads. At the same instant arose a screaming of women's 
voices, and one voice, and that Sir John Malyoe's, crying out as 
in the greatest extremity: "You villains! You damned villains!" 
and with the sudden detonation of a pistol fired into the close space 
of the great cabin. 

Barnaby was out in the middle of his cabin in a moment, and 
taking only time enough to snatch down one of the pistols that 
hung at the head of his berth, flung out into the great cabin, to 
find it as black as night, the lantern slung there having been either 
blown out or dashed out into darkness. The prodigiously dark 
space was full of uproar, the hubbub and confusion pierced through 
and through by that keen sound of women's voices screaming, one 
in the cabin and the other in the stateroom beyond. Almost 
immediately Barnaby pitched headlong over two or three struggling 
men scuffling together upon the deck, falling with a great clatter 
and the loss of his pistol, which, however, he regained almost 

What all the uproar meant he could not tell, but he presently 
heard Captain Manly 's voice from somewhere suddenly calling out, 
''You bloody pirate, would you choke me to death?" wherewith 
some notion of what had happened came to him like a flash, 
and that they had been attacked in the night by pirates. 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

Looking toward the companionway, he saw, outlined against 
the darkness of the night without, the blacker form of a man's 
figure, standing still and motionless as a statue in the midst of all 
this hubbub, and so by some instinct he knew in a moment that 
that must be the master maker of all this devil's brew. Therewith, 
still kneeling upon the deck, he covered the bosom of that shadowy 
figure pointblank, as he thought, with his pistol, and instantly 
pulled the trigger. 

In the flash of red light, and in the instant stunning report 
of the pistol shot, Barnaby saw, as stamped upon the blackness, a 
broad, flat face with fishy eyes, a lean, bony forehead with what 
appeared to be a great blotch of blood upon the side, a cocked hat 
trimmed with gold lace, a red scarf across the breast, and the gleam 
of brass buttons. Then the darkness, very thick and black, swal- 
lowed everything again. 

But in the instant Sir John Malyoe called out, in a great loud 
voice: "My God! 'Tis William Brand!" Therewith came the 
sound of some one falling heavily down. 

The next moment, Barnaby's sight coming back to him again 
in the darkness, he beheld that dark and motionless figure still 
standing exactly where it had stood before, and so knew either 
that he had missed it or else that it was of so supernatural a sort 
that a leaden bullet might do it no harm. Though if it was indeed 
an apparition that Barnaby beheld in that moment, there is this 
to say, that he saw it as plain as ever he saw a living man in all 
of his life. 

This was the last our hero knew, for the next moment somebody 
whether by accident or design he never knew struck him such 
a terrible violent blow upon the side of the head that he saw forty 
thousand stars flash before his eyeballs, and then, with a great 
humming in his head, swooned dead away. 

When Barnaby True came back to his senses again it was to 
find himself being cared for with great skill and nicety, his head 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

bathed with cold water, and a bandage being bound about it as 
carefully as though a chirurgeon was attending to him. 

He could not immediately recall what had happened to him, 
nor until he had opened his eyes to find himself in a strange cabin, 
extremely well fitted and painted with white and gold, the light 
of a lantern shining in his eyes, together with the gray of the early 
daylight through the dead-eye. Two men were bending over him 
one, a negro in a striped shirt, with a yellow handkerchief around 
his head and silver earrings in his ears; the other, a white 
man, clad in a strange outlandish dress of a foreign make, and 
with great mustachios hanging down, and with gold earrings in 
his ears. 

It was the latter who was attending to Barnaby's hurt with 
such extreme care and gentleness. 

All this Barnaby saw with his first clear consciousness after 
his swoon. Then remembering what had befallen him, and his head 
beating as though it would split asunder, he shut his eyes again, 
contriving with great effort to keep himself from groaning aloud, 
and wondering as to what sort of pirates these could be who would 
first knock a man in the head so terrible a blow as that which he had 
suffered, and then take such care to fetch him back to life again, 
and to make him easy and comfortable. 

Nor did he open his eyes again, but lay there gathering his 
wits together and wondering thus until the bandage was properly 
tied about his head and sewed together. Then once more he 
opened his eyes, and looked up to ask where he was. 

Either they who were attending to him did not choose to reply, 
or else they could not speak English, for they made no answer, 
excepting by signs; for the white man, seeing that he was now able 
to speak, and so was come back into his senses again, nodded his 
head three or four times, and smiled with a grin of his white teeth, 
and then pointed, as though toward a saloon beyond. At the same 
time the negro held up our hero's coat and beckoned for him to 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

put it on, so that Barnaby, seeing that it was required of him to 
meet some one without, arose, though with a good deal of effort, 
and permitted the negro to help him on with his coat, still feeling 
mightily dizzy and uncertain upon his legs, his head beating fit to 
split, and the vessel rolling and pitching at a great rate, as though 
upon a heavy ground swell. 

So, still sick and dizzy, he went out into what was indeed a fine 
saloon beyond, painted in white and gilt like the cabin he had just 
quitted, and fitted in the nicest fashion, a mahogany table, polished 
very bright, extending the length of the room, and a quantity of 
bottles, together with glasses of clear crystal, arranged in a hanging 
rack above. 

Here at the table a man was sitting with his back to our hero, 
clad in a rough pea-jacket, and with a red handkerchief tied around 
his throat, his feet stretched out before him, and he smoking a 
pipe of tobacco with all the ease and comfort in the world. 

As Barnaby came in he turned round, and, to the profound 
astonishment of our hero, presented toward him in the light of the 
lantern, the dawn shining pretty strong through the skylight, the 
face of that very man who had conducted the mysterious expedition 
that night across Kingston Harbor to the Rio Cobra River. 

This man looked steadily at Barnaby True for a moment or 
two, and then burst out laughing; and, indeed, Barnaby, standing 
there with the bandage about his head, must have looked a very 
droll picture of that astonishment he felt so profoundly at finding 
who was this pirate into whose hands he had fallen. 

"Well," says the other, "and so you be up at last, and no 
great harm done, I'll be bound. And how does your head feel 
by now, my young master?" 

To this Barnaby made no reply, but, what with wonder and 
the dizziness of his head, seated himself at the table over against 
the speaker, who pushed a bottle of rum toward him, together with 
a glass from the swinging shelf above. 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

He watched Barnaby fill his glass, and so soon as he had done 
so began immediately by saying: "I do suppose you think you 
were treated mightily ill to be so handled last night. Well, so you 
were treated ill enough though who hit you that crack upon the 
head I know no more than a child unborn. Well, I am sorry for 
the way you were handled, but there is this much to say, and of 
that you may believe me, that nothing was meant to you but 
kindness, and before you are through with us all you will believe 
that well enough." 

Here he helped himself to a taste of grog, and sucking in his 
lips, went on again with what he had to say. "Do you remember," 
said he, "that expedition of ours in Kingston Harbor, and how 
we were all of us balked that night?" 

"Why, yes," said Barnaby True, "nor am I likely to 
forget it." 

"And do you remember what I said to that villain, Jack 
Malyoe, that night as his boat went by us?" 

"As to that," said Barnaby True, "I do not know that I 
can say yes or no, but if you will tell me, I will maybe answer 
you in kind." 

"W T hy, I mean this," said the other. "I said that the villain 
had got the better of us once again, but that next time it would 
be our turn, even if William Brand himself had to come back 
from hell to put the business through." 

"I remember something of the sort," said Barnaby, "now 
that you speak of it, but still I am all in the dark as to what you 
are driving at." 

The other looked at him very cunningly for a little while, his 
head on one side, and his eyes half shut. Then, as if satisfied, he 
suddenly burst out laughing. "Look hither," said he, "and I'll 
show you something," and therewith, moving to one side, disclosed 
a couple of traveling cases or small trunks with brass studs, so 
exactly like those that Sir John Malyoe had fetched aboard at 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

Jamaica that Barnaby, putting this and that together, knew that 
they must be the same. 

Our hero had a strong enough suspicion as to what those two 
cases contained, and his suspicions had become a certainty when 
he saw Sir John Malyoe struck all white at being threatened about 
them, and his face lowering so malevolently as to look murder 
had he dared do it. But, Lord! what were suspicions or eveii 
certainty to what Barnaby True's two eyes beheld when that mai\ 
lifted the lids of the two cases the locks thereof having already 
been forced and, flinging back first one lid and then the other, 
displayed to Barnaby's astonished sight a great treasure of gold 
and silver! Most of it tied up in leathern bags, to be sure, but 
many of the coins, big and little, yellow and white, lying loose 
and scattered about like so many beans, brimming the cases to the 
very top. 

Barnaby sat dumb-struck at what he beheld; as to whether 
he breathed or no, I cannot tell; but this I know, that he sat 
staring at that marvelous treasure like a man in a trance, until, 
after a few seconds of this golden display, the other banged down 
the lids again and burst out laughing, whereupon he came back 
to himself with a jump. 

"Well, and what do you think of that?" said the other. "Is 
it not enough for a man to turn pirate for? But," he continued, 
"it is not for the sake of showing you this that I have been waiting 
for you here so long a while, but to tell you that you are not the 
only passenger aboard, but that there is another, whom I am to 
confide to your care and attention, according to orders I have 
received; so, if you are ready, Master Barnaby, I'll fetch her in 
directly." He waited for a moment, as though for Barnaby to 
speak, but our hero not replying, he arose and, putting away 
the bottle of rum and the glasses, crossed the saloon to a door 
like that from which Barnaby had come a little while before. 
This he opened, and after a moment's delay and a few words spoken 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

to some one within, ushered thence a young lady, who came out 
very slowly into the saloon where Barnaby still sat at the table. 

It was Miss Marjorie Malyoe, very white, and looking as though 
stunned or bewildered by all that had befallen her. 

Barnaby True could never tell whether the amazing strange 
voyage that followed was of long or of short duration; whether 
it occupied three days or ten days. For conceive, if you choose, 
two people of flesh and blood moving and living continually in all 
the circumstances and surroundings as of a nightmare dream, yet 
they two so happy together that all the universe beside was of no 
moment to them! How was anyone to tell whether in such cir- 
cumstances any tune appeared to be long or short? Does a dream 
appear to be long or to be short? 

The vessel in which they sailed was a brigantine of good size 
and build, but manned by a considerable crew, the most strange 
and outlandish in their appearance that Barnaby had ever beheld 
some white, some yellow, some black, and all tricked out with gay 
colors, and gold earrings in their ears, and some with great long 
mustachios, and others with handkerchiefs tied around their heads, 
and all talking a language together of which Barnaby True could 
understand not a single word, but which might have been Portuguese 
from one or two phrases he caught. Nor did this strange, mys- 
terious crew, of God knows what sort of men, seem to pay any 
attention whatever to Barnaby or to the young lady. They might 
now and then have looked at him and her out of the corners of their 
yellow eyes, but that was all; otherwise they were indeed like the 
creatures of a nightmare dream. Only he who was the captain 
of this outlandish crew would maybe speak to Barnaby a few words 
as to the weather or what not when he would come down into the 
saloon to mix a glass of grog or to light a pipe of tobacco, and 
then to go on deck again about his business. Otherwise our hero 
and the young lady were left to themselves, to do as they pleased, 
with no one to interfere with them. 


"She Would Sit Quite Still, Permitting 
Barnaby to Gaze" 

Illustration from 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published in 

HARPER'S WEEKLY, December 19, 1896 

The Ghost of Captain Brand 

As for her, she at no time showed any great sign of terror or 
of fear, only for a little while was singularly numb and quiet, as 
though dazed with what had happened to her. Indeed, methinks 
that wild beast, her grandfather, had so crushed her spirit by his 
tyranny and his violence that nothing that happened to her might 
seem sharp and keen, as it does to others of an ordinary sort. 

But this was only at first, for afterward her face began to grow 
singularly clear, as with a white light, and she would sit quite still, 
permitting Barnaby to gaze, I know not how long, into her eyes, 
her face so transfigured and her lips smiling, and they, as it were, 
neither of them breathing, but hearing, as in another far-distant 
place, the outlandish jargon of the crew talking together in the 
warm, bright sunlight, or the sound of creaking block and tackle 
as they hauled upon the sheets. 

Is it, then, any wonder that Barnaby True could never re- 
member whether such a voyage as this was long or short? 

It was as though they might have sailed so upon that wonderful 
voyage forever. You may guess how amazed was Barnaby True 
when, coming upon deck one morning, he found the brigantine 
riding upon an even keel, at anchor off Staten Island, a small 
village on the shore, and the well-known roofs and chimneys of 
New York town in plain sight across the water. 

'Twas the last place in the world he had expected to see. 

And, indeed, it did seem strange to lie there alongside Staten 
Island all that day, with New York town so nigh at hand and yet so 
impossible to reach. For whether he desired to escape or no, 
Barnaby True could not but observe that both he and the young 
lady were so closely watched that they might as well have been 
prisoners, tied hand and foot and laid in the hold, so far as any 
hope of getting away was concerned. 

All that day there was a deal of mysterious coming and going 
aboard the brigantine, and in the afternoon a sailboat went up to 
the town, carrying the captain, and a great load covered over with 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

a tarpaulin in the stern. What was so taken up to the town Barnaby 
did not then guess, but the boat did not return again till about 

For the sun was just dropping below the water when the 
captain came aboard once more and, finding Barnaby on deck, 
bade him come down into the saloon, where they found the young 
lady sitting, the broad light of the evening shining in through 
the skylight, and making it all pretty bright within. 

The captain commanded Barnaby to be seated, for he had 
something of moment to say to him; whereupon, as soon as Barnaby 
had taken his place alongside the young lady, he began very seri- 
ously, with a preface somewhat thus: "Though you may think 
me the captain of this brigantine, young gentleman, I am not 
really so, but am under orders, and so have only carried out those 
orders of a superior in all these things that I have done." Having 
so begun, he went on to say that there was one thing yet remaining 
for him to do, and that the greatest thing of all. He said that 
Barnaby and the young lady had not been fetched away from the 
Belle Helen as they were by any mere chance of accident, but that 
'twas all a plan laid by a head wiser than his, and carried out by 
one whom he must obey in all things. He said that he hoped that 
both Barnaby and the young lady would perform willingly what 
they would be now called upon to do, but that whether they did 
it willingly or no, they must, for that those were the orders of one 
who was not to be disobeyed. 

You may guess how our hero held his breath at all this; but 
whatever might have been his expectations, the very wildest of 
them all did not reach to that which was demanded of him. "My 
orders are these," said the other, continuing: "I am to take you 
and the young lady ashore, and to see that you are married before 
I quit you; and to that end a very good, decent, honest minister 
who lives ashore yonder in the village was chosen and hath been 
spoken to and is now, no doubt, waiting for you to come. Such 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

are my orders, and this is the last thing I am set to do; so now I 
will leave you alone together for five minutes to talk it over, but 
be quick about it, for whether willing or not, this thing must be 

Thereupon he went away, as he had promised, leaving those 
two alone together, Barnaby like one turned into stone, and the 
young lady, her face turned away, flaming as red as fire in the fading 

Nor can I tell what Barnaby said to her, nor what words he 
used, but only, all in a tumult, with neither beginning nor end 
he told her that God knew he loved her, and that with all his 
heart and soul, and that there was nothing in all the world for him 
but her; but, nevertheless, if she would not have it as had been 
ordered, and if she were not willing to marry him as she was bidden 
to do, he would rather die than lend himself to forcing her to do 
such a thing against her will. Nevertheless, he told her she must 
speak up and tell him yes or no, and that God knew he would give 
all the world if she would say "yes." 

All this and more he said in such a tumult of words that there 
was no order in their speaking, and she sitting there, her bosom 
rising and falling as though her breath stifled her. Nor may I 
tell what she replied to him, only this, that she said she would marry 
him. At this he took her into his arms and set his lips to hers, his 
heart all melting away in his bosom. 

So presently came the captain back into the saloon again, to 
find Barnaby sitting there holding her hand, she with her face 
turned away, and his heart beating like a trip hammer, and so saw 
that all was settled as he would have it. Wherewith he wished 
them both joy, and gave Barnaby his hand. 

The yawlboat belonging to the brigantine was ready and 
waiting alongside when they came upon deck, and immediately 
they descended to it and took their seats. So they landed, and 
in a little while were walking up the village street in the darkness, 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

she clinging to his arm as though she would swoon, and the captain 
of the brigantine and two other men from aboard following after 
them. And so to the minister's house, finding him waiting for 
them, smoking his pipe in the warm evening, and walking up and 
down in front of his own door. He immediately conducted them 
into the house, where, his wife having fetched a candle, and two 
others of the village folk being present, the good man having asked 
several questions as to their names and their age and where they 
were from, the ceremony was performed, and the certificate duly 
signed by those present excepting the men who had come ashore 
from the brigantine, and who refused to set their hands to any 

The same sailboat that had taken the captain up to the town 
in the afternoon was waiting for them at the landing place, whence, 
the captain, having wished them Godspeed, and having shaken 
Barnaby very heartily by the hand, they pushed off, and, coming 
about, ran away with the slant of the wind, dropping the shore 
and those strange beings alike behind them into the night. 

As they sped away through the darkness they could hear 
the creaking of the sails being hoisted aboard of the brigantine, and 
so knew that she was about to put to sea once more. Nor did 
Barnaby True ever set eyes upon those beings again, nor did anyone 
else that I ever heard tell of. 

It was nigh midnight when they made Mr. Hartright's wharf 
at the foot of Wall Street, and so the streets were all dark and 
silent and deserted as they walked up to Barnaby's home. 

You may conceive of the wonder and amazement of Barnaby's 
dear stepfather when, clad in a dressing gown and carrying a lighted 
candle in his hand, he unlocked and unbarred the door, and so 
saw who it was had aroused him at such an hour of the night, and 
the young and beautiful lady whom Barnaby had fetched with him. 

The first thought of the good man was that the Belle Helen 
had come into port; nor did Barnaby undeceive him as he led the 


The Ghost of Captain Brand 

way into the house, but waited until they were all safe and sound 
in privity together before he should unfold his strange and wonderful 

"This was left for you by two foreign sailors this afternoon, 
Barnaby," the good old man said, as he led the way through the 
hall, holding up the candle at the same time, so that Barnaby 
might see an object that stood against the wainscoting by the door 
of the dining room. 

Nor could Barnaby refrain from crying out with amazement 
when he saw that it was one of the two chests of treasure that 
Sir John Malyoe had fetched from Jamaica, and which the pirates 
had taken from the Belle Helen. As for Mr. Hartright, he guessed 
no more what was in it than the man in the moon. 

The next day but one brought the Belle Helen herself into port, 
with the terrible news not only of having been attacked at night 
by pirates, but also that Sir John Malyoe was dead. For whether 
it was the sudden shock of the sight of his old captain's face 
whom he himself had murdered and thought dead and buried 
flashing so out against the darkness, or whether it was the strain 
of passion that overset his brains, certain it is that when the pirates 
left the Belle Helen, carrying with them the young lady and Barnaby 
and the traveling trunks, those left aboard the Belle Helen found 
Sir John Malyoe lying in a fit upon the floor, frothing at the mouth 
and black in the face, as though he had been choked, and so took 
him away to his berth, where, the next morning about ten o'clock, 
he died, without once having opened his eyes or spoken a single word. 

As for the villain manservant, no one ever saw him afterward; 
though whether he jumped overboard, or whether the pirates who 
so attacked the ship had carried him away bodily, who shall say? 

Mr. Hartright, after he had heard Barnaby's story, had been 
very uncertain as to the ownership of the chest of treasure that 
had been left by those men for Barnaby, but the news of the death 
of Sir John Malyoe made the matter very easy for him to decide. 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

For surely if that treasure did not belong to Barnaby, there could 
be no doubt that it must belong to his wife, she being Sir John 
Malyoe's legal heir. And so it was that that great fortune (in 
actual computation amounting to upward of sixty-three thousand 
pounds) came to Barnaby True, the grandson of that famous pirate, 
William Brand; the English estate in Devonshire, in default of 
male issue of Sir John Malyoe, descended to Captain Malyoe, 
whom the young lady was to have married. 

As for the other case of treasure, it was never heard of again, 
nor could Barnaby ever guess whether it was divided as booty 
among the pirates, or whether they had carried it away with them 
to some strange and foreign land, there to share it among themselves. 

And so the ending of the story, with only this to observe, that 
whether that strange appearance of Captain Brand's face by the 
light of the pistol was a ghostly and spiritual appearance, or whether 
he was present in flesh and blood, there is only to say that he was 
never heard of again; nor had he ever been heard of till that time 
since the day he was so shot from behind by Capt. John Malyoe 
on the banks of the Rio Cobra River in the year 1733. 



Being an Account of Certain Adventures that Befell Henry Mostyn 
Under Capt. H. Morgan in the Year 1665-66 

this narration has more particularly to 
do with the taking of the Spanish vice admiral 
in the harbor of Porto Bello, and of the rescue 
therefrom of Le Sieur Simon, his wife and 
daughter (the adventure of which was success- 
fully achieved by Captain Morgan, the famous buccaneer), we 
shall, nevertheless, premise something of the earlier history of 
Master Harry Mostyn, whom you may, if you please, con- 
sider as the hero of the several circumstances recounted in 
these pages. 

In the year 1664 our hero's father embarked from Portsmouth, 
in England, for the Barbados, where he owned a considerable 
sugar plantation. Thither to those parts of America he transported 
with himself his whole family, of whom our Master Harry was the 
fifth of eight children a great lusty fellow as little fitted for the 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

Church (for which he was designed) as could be. At the time of 
this story, though not above sixteen years old, Master Harry 
Mostyn was as big and well-grown as many a man of twenty, and 
of such a reckless and dare-devil spirit that no adventure was too 
dangerous or too mischievous for him to embark upon. 

At this time there was a deal of talk in those parts of the 
Americas concerning Captain Morgan, and the prodigious successes 
he was having pirating against the Spaniards. 

This man had once been an indentured servant with Mr. Rolls, 
a sugar factor at the Barbados. Having served out his time, 
and being of lawless disposition, possessing also a prodigious appe- 
tite for adventure, he joined with others of his kidney, and, purchas- 
ing a caravel of three guns, embarked fairly upon that career of 
piracy the most successful that ever was heard of in the world. 

Master Harry had known this man very well while he was 
still with Mr. Rolls, serving as a clerk at that gentleman's sugar 
wharf, a tall, broad-shouldered, strapping fellow, with red cheeks, 
and thick red lips, and rolling blue eyes, and hair as red as any 
chestnut. Many knew him for a bold, gruff-spoken man, but no 
one at that time suspected that he had it in him to become so 
famous and renowned as he afterward grew to be. 

The fame of his exploits had been the talk of those parts for 
above a twelvemonth, when, in the latter part of the year 1665, 
Captain Morgan, having made a very successful expedition against 
the Spaniards into the Gulf of Campeche where he took several 
important purchases from the plate fleet came to the Barbados, 
there to fit out another such venture, and to enlist recruits. 

He and certain other adventurers had purchased a vessel of 
some five hundred tons, which they proposed to convert into a 
pirate by cutting portholes for cannon, and running three or four 
carronades across her main deck. The name of this ship, be it 
mentioned, was the Good Samaritan, as ill-fitting a name as could 
be for such a craft, which, instead of being designed for the healing 



With the Buccaneers 

of wounds, was intended to inflict such devastation as those wicked 
men proposed. 

Here was a piece of mischief exactly fitted to our hero's tastes; 
wherefore, having made up a bundle of clothes, and with not above 
a shilling in his pocket, he made an excursion into the town to seek 
for Captain Morgan. There he found the great pirate established 
at an ordinary, with a little court of ragamuffins and swashbucklers 
gathered about him, all talking very loud, and drinking healths 
in raw rum as though it were sugared water. 

And what a fine figure our buccaneer had grown, to be sure! 
How different from the poor, humble clerk upon the sugar wharf! 
What a deal of gold braid! What a fine, silver-hilted Spanish 
sword! What a gay velvet sling, hung with three silver-mounted 
pistols! If Master Harry's mind had not been made up before, to 
be sure such a spectacle of glory would have determined it. 

This figure of war our hero asked to step aside with him, 
and when they had come into a corner, proposed to the other what 
he intended, and that he had a mind to enlist as a gentleman 
adventurer upon this expedition. Upon this our rogue of a buc- 
caneer captain burst out a-laughing, and fetching Master Harry 
a great thump upon the back, swore roundly that he would make 
a man of him, and that it was a pity to make a parson out of so 
good a piece of stuff. 

Nor was Captain Morgan less good than his word, for when the 
Good Samaritan set sail with a favoring wind for the island of 
Jamaica, Master Harry found himself established as one of the 
adventurers aboard. 


Could you but have seen the town of Port Eoyal as it appeared 
in the year 1665 you would have beheld a sight very well worth 
while looking upon. There were no fine houses at that time, and 
no great counting houses built of brick, such as you may find nowa- 

6 [77] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

days, but a crowd of board and wattled huts huddled along the 
streets, and all so gay with flags and bits of color that Vanity 
Fair itself could not have been gayer. To this place came all the 
pirates and buccaneers that infested those parts, and men shouted 
and swore and gambled, and poured out money like water, and then 
maybe wound up their merrymaking by dying of fever. For the 
sky in these torrid latitudes is all full of clouds overhead, and 
as hot as any blanket, and when the sun shone forth it streamed 
down upon the smoking sands so that the houses were ovens and 
the streets were furnaces; so it was little wonder that men died 
like rats in a hole. But little they appeared to care for that; 
so that everywhere you might behold a multitude of painted women 
and Jews and merchants and pirates, gaudy with red scarfs and gold 
braid and all sorts of odds and ends of foolish finery, all fighting 
and gambling and bartering for that ill-gotten treasure of the be- 
robbed Spaniard. 

Here, arriving, Captain Morgan found a hearty welcome, and 
a message from the governor awaiting him, the message bidding 
him attend His Excellency upon the earliest occasion that offered. 
Whereupon, taking our hero (of whom he had grown prodigiously 
fond) along with him, our pirate went, without any loss of time, to 
visit Sir Thomas Modiford, who was then the royal governor of all 
this devil's brew of wickedness. 

They found His Excellency seated in a great easy-chair, under 
the shadow of a slatted veranda, the floor whereof was paved with 
brick. He was clad, for the sake of coolness, only in his shirt, 
breeches, and stockings, and he wore slippers on his feet. He 
was smoking a great cigarro of tobacco, and a goblet of lime juice 
and water and rum stood at his elbow on a table. Here, out of 
the glare of the heat, it was all very cool and pleasant, with a sea 
breeze blowing violently in through the slats, setting them a-rattling 
now and then, and stirring Sir Thomas's long hair, which he had 
pushed back for the sake of coolness. 


With the Buccaneers 

The purport of this interview, I may tell you, concerned the 
rescue of one Le Sieur Simon, who, together with his wife and 
daughter, was held captive by the Spaniards. 

This gentleman adventurer (Le Sieur Simon) had, a few years 
before, been set up by the buccaneers as governor of the island of 

Santa Catharina. This place, though well fortified by the Spaniards, 
the buccaneers had seized upon, establishing themselves thereon, 
and so infesting the commerce of those seas that no Spanish fleet 
was safe from them. At last the Spaniards, no longer able to endure 
these assaults against their commerce, sent a great force against 
the freebooters to drive them out of their island stronghold. This 
they did, retaking Santa Catharina, together with its governor, 
his wife, and daughter, as well as the whole garrison of buccaneers. 
This garrison was sent by their conquerors, some to the 
galleys, some to the mines, some to no man knows where. The 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

governor himself Le Sieur Simon was to be sent to Spain, there 
to stand his trial for piracy. 

The news of all this, I may tell you, had only just been received 
in Jamaica, having been brought thither by a Spanish captain, one 
Don Roderiguez Sylvia, who was, besides, the bearer of dispatches 
to the Spanish authorities relating the whole affair. 

Such, in fine, was the purport of this interview, and as our hero 
and his captain walked back together from the governor's house 
to the ordinary where they had taken up their inn, the buccaneer 
assured his companion that he purposed to obtain those dispatches 
from the Spanish captain that very afternoon, even if he had to use 
force to seize them. 

All this, you are to understand, was undertaken only because 
of the friendship that the governor and Captain Morgan entertained 
for Le Sieur Simon. And, indeed, it was wonderful how honest and 
how faithful were these wicked men in their dealings with one 
another. For you must know that Governor Modiford and Le 
Sieur Simon and the buccaneers were all of one kidney all taking a 
share in the piracies of those times, and all holding by one another 
as though they were the honestest men In the world. Hence 
it was they were all so determined to rescue Le Sieur Simon from 
the Spaniards. 


Having reached his ordinary after his interview with the 
governor, Captain Morgan found there a number of his companions, 
such as usually gathered at that place to be in attendance upon 
him some, those belonging to the Good Samaritan; others, those 
who hoped to obtain benefits from him; others, those ragamuffins 
who gathered around him because he was famous, and because it 
pleased them to be of his court and to be called his followers. For 
nearly always your successful pirate had such a little court sur- 
rounding him. 


With the Buccaneers 

Finding a dozen or more of these rascals gathered there, 
Captain Morgan informed them of his present purpose that he 
was going to find the Spanish captain to demand his papers of him, 
and calling upon them to accompany him. 

With this following at his heels, our buccaneer started off 
down the street, his lieutenant, a Cornishman named Bartholomew 
Davis, upon one hand and our hero upon the other. So they 
paraded the streets for the best part of an hour before they found 
the Spanish captain. For whether he had got wind that Captain 
Morgan was searching for him, or whether, finding himself in a 
place so full of his enemies, he had buried himself in some place 
of hiding, it is certain that the buccaneers had traversed pretty 
nearly the whole town before they discovered that he was lying at 
a certain auberge kept by a Portuguese Jew. Thither they went, 
and thither Captain Morgan entered with the utmost coolness 
and composure of demeanor, his followers crowding noisily in at 
his heels. 

The space within was very dark, being lighted only by the 
doorway and by two large slatted windows or openings in the front. 

In this dark, hot place not over-roomy at the best were 
gathered twelve or fifteen villainous-appearing men, sitting at 
tables and drinking together, waited upon by the Jew and his wife. 
Our hero had no trouble in discovering which of this lot of men 
was Captain Sylvia, for not only did Captain Morgan direct his 
glance full of war upon him, but the Spaniard was clad with more 
particularity and with more show of finery than any of the others 
who were there. 

Him Captain Morgan approached and demanded his papers, 
whereunto the other replied with such a jabber of Spanish and 
English that no man could have understood what he said. To 
this Captain Morgan in turn replied that he must have those papers, 
no matter what it might cost him to obtain them, and thereupon 
drew a pistol from his sling and presented it at the other's head. 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

At this threatening action the innkeeper's wife fell a-screaming, 
and the Jew, as in a frenzy, besought them not to tear the house 
down about his ears. 

Our hero could hardly tell what followed, only that all of a 
sudden there was a prodigious uproar of combat. Knives flashed 
everywhere, and then a pistol was fired so close to his head that he 
stood like one stunned, hearing some one crying out in a loud voice, 
but not knowing whether it was a friend or a foe who had been shot. 
Then another pistol shot so deafened what was left of Master 
Harry's hearing that his ears rang for above an hour afterward. 
By this time the whole place was full of gunpowder smoke, and 
there was the sound of blows and oaths and outcrying and the 
clashing of knives. 

As Master Harry, who had no great stomach for such a combat, 
and no very particular interest in the quarrel, was making for the 
door, a little Portuguese, as withered and as nimble as an ape, 
came ducking under the table and plunged at his stomach with a 
great long knife, which, had it effected its object, would surely 
have ended his adventures then and there. Finding himself in 
such danger, Master Harry snatched up a heavy chair, and, flinging 
it at his enemy, who was preparing for another attack, he fairly 
ran for it out of the door, expecting every instant to feel the thrust 
of the blade betwixt his ribs. 

A considerable crowd had gathered outside, and others, hearing 
the uproar, were coming running to join them. With these our 
hero stood, trembling like a leaf, and with cold chills running up 
and down his back like water at the narrow escape from the 
danger that had threatened him. 

Nor shall you think him a coward, for you must remember 
he was hardly sxteen years old at the time, and that this was the 
first affair of the sort he had encountered. Afterward, as you shall 
learn, he showed that he could exhibit courage enough at a pinch. 

While he stood there, endeavoring to recover his composure, 


With the Buccaneers 

the while the tumult continued within, suddenly two men came 
running almost together out of the door, a crowd of the combatants 
at their heels. The first of these men was Captain Sylvia; the other, 
who was pursuing him, was Captain Morgan. 

As the crowd about the door parted before the sudden appearing 
of these, the Spanish captain, perceiving, as he supposed, a way of 
escape opened to him, darted across the street with incredible 
swiftness toward an alleyway upon the other side. Upon this, 
seeing his prey like to get away from him, Captain Morgan snatched 
a pistol out of his sling, and resting it for an instant across his arm, 
fired at the flying Spaniard, and that with so true an aim that, though 
the street was now full of people, the other went tumbling over 
and over all of a heap in the kennel, where he lay, after a twitch or 
two, as still as a log. 

At the sound of the shot and the fall of the man the crowd 
scattered upon all sides, yelling and screaming, and the street 
being thus pretty clear, Captain Morgan ran across the way to where 
his victim lay, his smoking pistol still in his hand, and our hero 
following close at his heels. 

Our poor Harry had never before beheld a man killed thus in 
an instant who a moment before had been so full of life and activity, 
for when Captain Morgan turned the body over upon its back he 
could perceive at a glance, little as he knew of such matters, that the 
man was stone-dead. And, indeed, it was a 
dreadful sight for him who was hardly more 
than a child. He stood rooted for he knew not 
how long, staring down at the dead face with 
twitching fingers and shuddering limbs. Mean- 
time a great crowd was gathering about them 

As for Captain Morgan, he went about his 
work with the utmost coolness and deliberation 
imaginable, unbuttoning the waistcoat and the 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

shirt of the man he had murdered with fingers that neither twitched 
nor shook. There were a gold cross and a bunch of silver medals 
hung by a whipcord about the neck of the dead man. This 
Captain Morgan broke away with a snap, reaching the jingling 
baubles to Harry, who took them in his nerveless hand and fingers 
that he could hardly close upon what they held. 

The papers Captain Morgan found in a wallet in an inner 
breast pocket of the Spaniard's waistcoat. These he examined one 
by one, and finding them to his satisfaction, tied them up again, 
and slipped the wallet and its contents into his own pocket. 

Then for the first time he appeared to observe Master Harry, 
who, indeed, must have been standing, the perfect picture of horror 
and dismay. Whereupon, bursting out a-laughing, and slipping 
the pistol he had used back into its sling again, he fetched poor 
Harry a great slap upon the back, bidding him be a man, for that 
he would see many such sights as this. 

But indeed, it was no laughing matter for poor Master Harry, 
for it was many a day before his imagination could rid itself of the 
image of the dead Spaniard's face; and as he walked away down the 
street with his companions, leaving the crowd behind them, and the 
dead body where it lay for its friends to look after, his ears 
humming and ringing from the deafening noise of the pistol shots 
fired in the close room, and the sweat trickling down his face in 
drops, he knew not whether all that had passed had been real, 
or whether it was a dream from which he might presently awaken. 


The papers Captain Morgan had thus seized upon as the fruit 
of the murder he had committed must have been as perfectly 
satisfactory to him as could be, for having paid a second visit 
that evening to Governor Modiford, the pirate lifted anchor the 
next morning and made sail toward the Gulf of Darien. There, 
after cruising about in those waters for about a fortnight without 


KIDD OX THE DECK OF THE Adventure fllllll'l/ 

With the Buccaneers 

falling in with a vessel of any sort, at the end of that time they over- 
hauled a caravel bound from Porto Bello to Cartagena, which 
vessel they took, and finding her loaded with nothing better than 
raw hides, scuttled and sank her, being then about twenty leagues 
from the main of Cartagena. From the captain of this vessel they 
learned that the plate fleet was then lying in the harbor of Porto 
Bello, not yet having set sail thence, but waiting for the change of 
the winds before embarking for Spain. Besides this, which was a 
good deal more to their purpose, the Spaniards told the pirates 
that the Sieur Simon, his wife, and daughter were confined aboard 
the vice admiral of that fleet, and that the name of the vice admiral 
was the Santa Maria y Valladolid. 

So soon as Captain Morgan had obtained the information 
he desired he directed his course straight for the Bay of Santo 
Blaso, where he might lie safely within the cape of that name with- 
out any danger of discovery (that part of the mainland being 
entirely uninhabited) and yet be within twenty or twenty-five 
leagues of Porto Bello. 

Having come safely to this anchorage, he at once declared his 
intentions to his companions, which were as follows: 

That it was entirely impossible for them to hope to sail their 
vessel into the harbor of Porto Bello, and to attack the Spanish 
vice admiral where he lay in the midst of the armed flota; where- 
fore, if anything was to be accomplished, it must be undertaken 
by some subtle design rather than by open-handed boldness. Hav- 
ing so prefaced what he had to say, he now declared that it was his 
purpose to take one of the ship's boats and to go in that to Porto 
Bello, trusting for some opportunity to occur to aid him either in 
the accomplishment of his aims or in the gaining of some further 
information. Having thus delivered himself, he invited any who 
dared to do so to volunteer for the expedition, telling them plainly 
that he would constrain no man to go against his will, for that at 
best it was a desperate enterprise, possessing only the recommenda- 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

tion that in its achievement the few who undertook it would gain 
great renown, and perhaps a very considerable booty. 

And such was the incredible influence of this bold man over 
his companions, and such was their confidence in his skill and 
cunning, that not above a dozen of all those aboard hung back 
from the undertaking, but nearly every man desired to be taken. 

Of these volunteers Captain Morgan chose twenty among 
others our Master Harry and having arranged with his lieutenant 
that if nothing was heard from the expedition at the end of three 
days he should sail for Jamaica to await news, he embarked upon 
that enterprise, which, though never heretofore published, was 
perhaps the boldest and the most desperate of all those that have 
since made his name so famous. For what could be a more un- 
paralleled undertaking than for a little open boat, containing but 
twenty men, to enter the harbor of the third strongest fortress of 
the Spanish mainland with the intention of cutting out the Spanish 
vice admiral from the midst of a whole fleet of powerfully armed 
vessels, and how many men in all the world do you suppose would 
venture such a thing? 

But there is this to be said of that great buccaneer: that if he 
undertook enterprises so desperate as this, he yet laid his plans so 
well that they never went altogether amiss. Moreover, the very 
desperation of his successes was of such a nature that no man 
could suspect that he would dare to undertake such things, and 
accordingly his enemies were never prepared to guard against his 
attacks. Aye, had he but worn the king's colors and served under 
the rules of honest war, he might have become as great and as 
renowned as Admiral Blake himself. 

But all that is neither here nor there; what I have to tell you 
now is that Captain Morgan in this open boat with his twenty mates 
reached the Cape of Salmedina toward the fall of day. Arriving 
within view of the harbor they discovered the plate fleet at anchor, 
with two men-of-war and an armed galley riding as a guard at the 


With the Buccaneers 

mouth of the harbor, scarce half a league distant from the other 
ships. Having spied the fleet in this posture, the pirates presently 
pulled down their sails and rowed along the coast, feigning to be a 
Spanish vessel from Nombre de Dios. So hugging the shore, they 
came boldly within the harbor, upon the opposite side of which you 
might see the fortress a considerable distance away. 

Being now come so near to the consummation of their ad- 
venture, Captain Morgan required every man to make an oath to 
stand by him to the last, whereunto our hero swore as heartily as 
any man aboard, although his heart, I must needs confess, was beat- 
ing at a great rate at the approach of what was to happen. Having 
thus received the oaths of all his followers, Captain Morgan com- 
manded the surgeon of the expedition that, when the order was 
given, he, the medico, was to bore six holes in the boat, so that, 
it sinking under them, they might all be compelled to push forward, 
with no chance of retreat. And such was the ascendancy of this 
man over his followers, and such was their awe of him, that not one 
of them uttered even so much as a murmur, though what he had 
commanded the surgeon to do pledged them either to victory or to 
death, with no chance to choose between. Nor did the surgeon 
question the orders he had received, much less did he dream of 
disobeying them. 

By now it had fallen pretty dusk, whereupon, spying two 
fishermen in a canoe at a little distance, Captain Morgan demanded 
of them in Spanish which vessel of those at anchor in the 
harbor was the vice admiral, for that he had dispatches for 
the captain thereof. Whereupon the fishermen, suspecting 
nothing, pointed to them a galleon of great "size riding at 
anchor not half a league distant. 

Toward this vessel accordingly the pirates directed their 
course, and when they had come pretty nigh, Captain Morgan 
called upon the surgeon that now it was time for him to per- 
form the duty that had been laid upon him. Whereupon 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

the other did as he was ordered, and that so thoroughly that the 
water presently came gushing into the boat in great streams, 
whereat all hands pulled for the galleon as though every next 
moment was to be their last. 

And what do you suppose were our hero's emotions at this 
time? Like all in the boat, his awe of Captain Morgan was so great 
that I do believe he would rather have gone to the bottom than 
have questioned his command, even when it was to scuttle the boat. 
Nevertheless, when he felt the cold water gushing about his feet 
(for he had taken off his shoes and stockings) he became possessed 
with such a fear of being drowned that even the Spanish galleon 
had no terrors for him if he could only feel the solid planks thereof 
beneath his feet. 

Indeed, all the crew appeared to be possessed of a like dismay, 
for they pulled at the oars with such an incredible force that they 
were under the quarter of the galleon before the boat was half 
filled with water. 

Here, as they approached, it then being pretty dark and the 
moon not yet having risen, the watch upon the deck hailed them, 
whereupon Captain Morgan called out in Spanish that he was 
Capt. Alvarez Mendazo, and that he brought dispatches for the 
vice admiral. 

But at that moment, the boat being now so full of water as 
to be logged, it suddenly tilted upon one side as though to sink 
beneath them, whereupon all hands, without further orders, went 
scrambling up the side, as nimble as so many monkeys, each armed 
with a pistol in one hand and a cutlass in the other, and so were 
upon deck before the watch could collect his wits to utter any out- 
cry or to give any other alarm than to cry out, "Jesu bless us! 
who are these?" at which words somebody knocked him down with 
the butt of a pistol, though who it was our hero could not tell in 
the darkness and the hurry. 

Before any of those upon deck could recover from then- alarm 


With the Buccaneers 

or those from below come up upon deck, a part of the pirates, 
under the carpenter and the surgeon, had run to the gun room 
and had taken possession of the arms, while Captain Morgan, 
with Master Harry and a Portuguese called Murillo Braziliano, 
had flown with the speed of the wind into the great cabin. 

Here they found the captain of the vice admiral playing at 
cards with the Sieur Simon and a friend, Madam Simon and her 
daughter being present. 

Captain Morgan instantly set his pistol at the breast of the 
Spanish captain, swearing with a most horrible fierce countenance 
that if he spake a word or made any outcry he was a dead man. As 
for our hero, having now got his hand into the game, he performed 
the same service for the Spaniard's friend, declaring he would shoot 
him dead if he opened his lips or lifted so much as a single finger. 

All this while the ladies, not comprehending what had occurred, 
had sat as mute as stones; but now having so far recovered them- 
selves as to find a voice, the younger of the two fell to screaming, 
at which the Sieur Simon called out to her to be still, for these 
were friends who had come to help them, and not enemies who 
had come to harm them. 

All this, you are to understand, occupied only a little while, 
for in less than a minute three or four of the pirates had come 
into the cabin, who, together with the Portuguese, proceeded at 
once to bind the two Spaniards hand and foot, and to gag them. 
This being done to our buccaneer's satisfaction, and the Spanish 
captain being stretched out in the corner of the cabin, he in- 
stantly cleared his countenance of its terrors, and bursting forth 
into a great loud laugh, clapped his hand to the Sieur Simon's, 
which he wrung with the best will in the world. Having done this, 
and being in a fine humor after this his first success, he turned to the 
two ladies. "And this, ladies," said he, taking our hero by the hand 
and presenting him, " is a young gentleman who has embarked with me 
to learn the trade of piracy. I recommend him to your politeness." 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

Think what a confusion this threw our Master Harry into, 
to be sure, who at his best was never easy in the company of strange 
ladies! You may suppose what must have been his emotions to 
find himself thus introduced to the attention of Madam Simon and 
her daughter, being at the time in his bare feet, clad only in his 
shirt and breeches, and with no hat upon his head, a pistol in one 
hand and a cutlass in the other. However, he was not left for long 
to his embarrassments, for almost immediately after he had thus 
far relaxed, Captain Morgan feh 1 of a sudden serious again, and 
bidding the Sieur Simon to get his ladies away into some place of 
safety, for the most hazardous part of this adventure was yet to 
occur, he quitted the cabin with Master Harry and the other pirates 
(for you may call him a pirate now) at his heels. 

Having come upon deck, our hero beheld that a part of the 
Spanish crew were huddled forward in a flock like so many sheep 
(the others being crowded below with the hatches fastened upon 
them), and such was the terror of the pirates, and so dreadful the 
name of Henry Morgan, that not one of those poor wretches dared 
to lift up his voice to give any alarm, nor even to attempt an escape 
by jumping overboard. 

At Captain Morgan's orders, these men, together with certain 
of his own company, ran nimbly aloft and began setting the sails, 
which, the night now having fallen pretty thick, was not for a 
good while observed by any of the vessels riding at anchor about 

Indeed, the pirates might have made good their escape, with 
at most only a shot or two from the men-of-war, had it not then 
been about the full of the moon, which, having arisen, presently 
discovered to those of the fleet that lay closest about them what 
was being done aboard the vice admiral. 

At this one of the vessels hailed them, and then after a while, 
having no reply, hailed them again. Even then the Spaniards 
might not immediately have suspected anything was amiss but 


With the Buccaneers 

only that the vice admiral for some reason best known to himself 
was shifting his anchorage, had not one of the Spaniards aloft 
but who it was Captain Morgan was never able to discover 
answered the hail by crying out that the vice admiral had been 
seized by the pirates. 

At this the alarm was instantly given and the mischief done, 
for presently there was a tremendous bustle through that part of 
the fleet lying nighest the vice admiral a deal of shouting of 
orders, a beating of drums, and the running hither and thither of 
the crews. 

But by this time the sails of the vice admiral had filled with 
a strong land breeze that was blowing up the harbor, whereupon the 
carpenter, at Captain Morgan's orders, having cut away both an- 
chors, the galleon presently bore away up the harbor, gathering 
headway every moment with the wind nearly dead astern. The 
nearest vessel was the only one that for the moment was able to 
offer any hindrance. This ship, having by this time cleared away 
one of its guns, was able to fire a parting shot against the vice- 
admiral, striking her somewhere forward, as our hero could see 
by a great shower of splinters that flew up in the moonlight. 

At the sound of the shot all the vessels of the flota not yet dis- 
turbed by the alarm were aroused at once, so that the pirates had 
the satisfaction of knowing that they would have to run the gantlet 
of all the ships between them and the open sea before they could 
reckon themselves escaped. 

And, indeed, to our hero's mind it seemed that the battle 
which followed must have been the most terrific cannonade that 
was ever heard in the world. It was not so ill at first, for it was 
some while before the Spaniards could get their guns clear for 
action, they being not the least in the world prepared for such an 
occasion as this. But by and by first one and then another ship 
opened fire upon the galleon, until it seemed to our hero that all 
the thunders of heaven let loose upon them could not have created 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

a more prodigious uproar, and that it was not possible that they 
could any of them escape destruction. 

By now the moon had risen full and round, so that the clouds 
of smoke that rose in the air appeared as white as snow. The 
air seemed full of the hiss and screaming of shot, each one of which, 
when it struck the galleon, was magnified by our hero's imagination 
into ten times its magnitude from the crash which it delivered and 
from the cloud of splinters it would cast up into the moonlight. At 
last he suddenly beheld one poor man knocked sprawling across 
the deck, who, as he raised his arm from behind the mast, disclosed 
that the hand was gone from it, and that the shirt sleeve was red 
with blood in the moonlight. At this sight all the strength fell 
away from poor Harry, and he felt sure that a like fate or even a 
worse must be in store for him. 

But, after all, this was nothing to what it might have been 
in broad daylight, for what with the darkness of night, and the 
little preparation the Spaniards could make for such a business, 
and the extreme haste with which they discharged then* guns 
(many not understanding what was the occasion of all this uproar), 
nearly all the shot flew so wide of the mark that not above one in 
twenty struck that at which it was aimed. 

Meantime Captain Morgan, with the Sieur Simon, who had 
followed him upon deck, stood just above where our hero lay behind 
the shelter of the bulwark. The captain had lit a pipe of tobacco, 
and he stood now in the bright moonlight close to the rail, with 
his hands behind him, looking out ahead with the utmost coolness 
imaginable, and paying no more attention to the din of battle 
than though it were twenty leagues away. Now and then he 
would take his pipe from his lips to utter an order to the man at 
the wheel. Excepting this he stood there hardly moving at all, 
the wind blowing his long red hair over his shoulders. 

Had it not been for the armed galley the pirates might have 
got the galleon away with no great harm done in spite of all this 

With the Buccaneers 

cannonading, for the man-of-war which rode at anchor nighest to 
them at the mouth of the harbor was still so far away that they 
might have passed it by hugging pretty close to the shore, and that 
without any great harm being done to them in the darkness. But 
just at this moment, when the open water lay in sight, came this 
galley pulling out from behind the point of the shore in such a 
manner as either to head our pirates off entirely or else to compel 
them to approach so near to the man-of-war that that latter vessel 
could bring its guns to bear with more effect. 

This galley, I must tell you, was like others of its kind such 
as you may find in these waters, the hull being long and cut low to 
the water so as to allow the oars to dip freely. The bow was 
sharp and projected far out ahead, mounting a swivel upon it, 
while at the stern a number of galleries built one above another 
into a castle gave shelter to several companies of musketeers as 
well as the officers commanding them. 

Our hero could behold the approach of this galley from above 
the starboard bulwarks, and it appeared to him impossible for 
them to hope to escape either it or the man-of-war. But still 
Captain Morgan maintained the same composure that he had 
exhibited all the while, only now and then delivering an order to 
the man at the wheel, who, putting the helm over, threw the bows 
of the galleon around more to the larboard, as though to escape the 
bow of the galley and get into the open water beyond. This 
course brought the pirates ever closer and closer to the man-of-war, 
which now began to add its thunder to the din of the battle, and 
with so much more effect that at every discharge you might hear 
the crashing and crackling of splintered wood, and now and then 
the outcry or groaning of some man who was hurt. Indeed, had 
it been daylight, they must at this juncture all have perished, 
though, as was said, what with the night and the confusion and the 
hurry, they escaped entire destruction, though more by a miracle 
than through any policy upon their own part. 
7 [93] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

Meantime the galley, steering as though to come aboard of 
them, had now come so near that it, too, presently began to open 
its musketry fire upon them, so that the humming and rattling 
of bullets were presently added to the din of cannonading. 

In two minutes more it would have been aboard of them, 
when in a moment Captain Morgan roared out of a sudden to the 
man at the helm to put it hard a starboard. In response the man 
ran the wheel over with the utmost quickness, and the galleon, 
obeying her helm very readily, came around upon a course which, 
if continued, would certainly bring them into collision with their 

It is possible at first the Spaniards imagined the pirates intended 
to escape past their stern, for they instantly began backing oars 
to keep them from getting past, so that the water was all of a foam 
about them; at the same time they did this they poured in such 
a fire of musketry that it was a miracle that no more execution 
was accomplished than happened. 

As for our hero, methinks for the moment he forgot all about 
everything else than as to whether or no his captain's maneuver 
would succeed, for in the very first moment he divined, as by 
some instinct, what Captain Morgan purposed doing. 

At this moment, so particular in the execution of this nice 
design, a bullet suddenly struck down the man at the wheel. Hear- 
ing the sharp outcry, our Harry turned to see him fall forward, and 
then to his hands and knees upon the deck, the blood running in a 
black pool beneath him, while the wheel, escaping from his hands, 
spun over until the spokes were all of a mist. 

In a moment the ship would have fallen off before the wind 
had not our hero, leaping to the wheel (even as Captain Morgan 
shouted an order for some one to do so), seized the flying spokes, 
whirling them back again, and so bringing the bow of the galleon 
up to its former course. 

In the first moment of this effort he had reckoned of nothing 


With the Buccaneers 

but of carrying out his captain's designs. He neither thought of 
cannon balls nor of bullets. But now that his task was accom- 
plished, he came suddenly back to himself to find the galleries of 
the galley aflame with musket shots, and to become aware with 
a most horrible sinking of the spirits that all the shots therefrom 

were intended for him. He cast his eyes about him with despair, 
but no one came to ease him of his task, which, having undertaken, 
he had too much spirit to resign from carrying through to the end, 
though he was well aware that the very next instant might mean 
his sudden and violent death. His ears hummed and rang, and 
his brain swam as light as a feather. I know not whether he 
breathed, but he shut his eyes tight as though that might save him 
from the bullets that were raining about him. 

At this moment the Spaniards must have discovered for the 
first time the pirates' design, for of a sudden they ceased firing, and 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

began to shout out a multitude of orders, while the oars lashed the 
water all about with a foam. But it was too late then for them 
to escape, for within a couple of seconds the galleon struck her 
enemy a blow so violent upon the larboard quarter as nearly to hurl 
our Harry upon the deck, and then with a dreadful, horrible crackling 
of wood, commingled with a yelling of men's voices, the galley was 
swung around upon her side, and the galleon, sailing into the open 
sea, left nothing of her immediate enemy but a sinking wreck, 
and the water dotted all over with bobbing heads and waving hands 
in the moonlight. 

And now, indeed, that all danger was past and gone, there 
were plenty to come running to help our hero at the wheel. As 
for Captain Morgan, having come down upon the main deck, he 
fetches the young helmsman a clap upon the back. "Well, Master 
Harry," says he, "and did I not tell you I would make a man of 
you?" Whereat our poor Harry fell a-laughing, but with a sad 
catch in his voice, for his hands trembled as with an ague, and were 
as cold as ice. As for his emotions, God knows he was nearer 
crying than laughing, if Captain Morgan had but known it. 

Nevertheless, though undertaken under the spur of the mo- 
ment, I protest it was indeed a brave deed, and I cannot but wonder 
how many young gentlemen of sixteen there are to-day who, upon 
a like occasion, would act as well as our Harry. 

The balance of our hero's adventures were of a lighter sort than 
those already recounted, for the next morning the Spanish captain 
(a very polite and well-bred gentleman) having fitted him out with 
a shift of his own clothes, Master Harry was presented in a proper 
form to the ladies. For Captain Morgan, if he had felt a liking 
for the young man before, could not now show sufficient regard for 
him. He ate in the great cabin and was petted by all. Madam 
Simon, who was a fat and red-faced lady, was forever praising him, 


With the Buccaneers 

and the young miss, who was extremely well-looking, was as con- 
tinually making eyes at him. 

She and Master Harry, I must tell you, would spend hours 
together, she making pretense of teaching him French, although he 
was so possessed with a passion of love that he was nigh suffocated 
with it. She, upon her part, perceiving his emotions, responded 
with extreme good nature and complacency, so that had our hero 
been older, and the voyage proved longer, he might have become 
entirely enmeshed in the toils of his fair siren. For all this while, 
you are to understand, the pirates were making sail straight for 
Jamaica, which they reached upon the third day in perfect safety. 

In that time, however, the pirates had well-nigh gone crazy 
for joy; for when they came to examine their purchase they dis- 
covered her cargo to consist of plate to the prodigious sum of 
130,000 in value. 'Twas a wonder they did not all make them- 
selves drunk for joy. No doubt they would have done so had not 
Captain Morgan, knowing they were still in the exact track of the 
Spanish fleets, threatened them that the first man among them 
who touched a drop of rum without his permission he would shoot 
him dead upon the deck. This threat had such effect that they all 
remained entirely sober until they had reached Port Royal Harbor, 
which they did about nine o'clock in the morning. 

And now it was that our hero's romance came 
all tumbling down about his ears with a run. For 
they had hardly come to anchor in the harbor when 
a boat came from a man-of-war, and who should 
come stepping aboard but Lieutenant Grantley (a 
particular friend of our hero's father) and his own 
eldest brother Thomas, who, putting on a very 
stern face, informed Master Harry that he was a 
desperate and hardened villain who was sure to 
end at the gallows, and that he was to go immedi- 
ately back to his home again. He told our embryo 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

pirate that his family had nigh gone distracted because of his 
wicked and ungrateful conduct. Nor could our hero move him 
from his inflexible purpose. "What," says our Harry, "and will 
you not then let me wait until our prize is divided and I get my 

"Prize, indeed!" says his brother. "And do you then really 
think that your father would consent to your having a share in this 
terrible bloody and murthering business?" 

And so, after a good deal of argument, our hero was con- 
strained to go; nor did he even have an opportunity to bid adieu 
to his inamorata. Nor did he see her any more, except from a 
distance, she standing on the poop deck as he was rowed away from 
her, her face all stained with crying. For himself, he felt that 
there was no more joy in life; nevertheless, standing up in the stern 
of the boat, he made shift, though with an aching heart, to deliver 
her a fine bow with the hat he had borrowed from the Spanish 
captain, before his brother bade him sit down again. 

And so to the ending of this story, with only this to relate, 
that our Master Harry, so far from going to the gallows, became in 
good time a respectable and wealthy sugar merchant with an 
English wife and a fine family of children, whereunto, when the 
mood was upon him, he has sometimes told these adventures (and 
sundry others not here recounted), as I have told them unto you. 



An Old-time Story of the Days of Captain Kidd 

tell about Tom Chist, and how he got his name, 
and how he came to be living at the little settlement 
of Henlopen, just inside the mouth of the Delaware 
Bay, the story must begin as far back as 1686, 
when a great storm swept the Atlantic coast from 
end to end. During the heaviest part of the hurricane a bark went 
ashore on the Hen-and-Chicken Shoals, just below Cape Henlo- 
pen and at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, and Tom Chist was the 
only soul of all those on board the ill-fated vessel who escaped alive. 

This story must first be told, because it was on account of the 
strange and miraculous escape that happened to him at that time 
that he gained the name that was given to him. 

Even as late as that time of the American colonies, the little 
scattered settlement at Henlopen, made up of English, with a few 
Dutch and Swedish people, was still only a spot upon the face 
of the great American wilderness that spread away, with swamp 



Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

and forest, no man knew how far to the westward. That wilderness 
was not only full of wild beasts, but of Indian savages, who every 
fall would come in wandering tribes to spend the winter along the 
shores of the fresh-water lakes below Henlopen. There for four or 
five months they would live upon fish and clams and wild ducks 
and geese, chipping their arrowheads, and making their earthen- 
ware pots and pans under the lee of the sand hills and pine woods 
below the Capes. 

Sometimes on Sundays, when the Rev. Hillary Jones would be 
preaching in the little log church back in the woods, these half-clad 
red savages would come in from the cold, and sit squatting in the 
back part of the church, listening stolidly to the words that had 
no meaning for them. 

But about the wreck of the bark in 1686. Such a wreck as 
that which then went ashore on the Hen-and-Chicken Shoals was 
a godsend to the poor and needy settlers in the wilderness where 
so few good things ever came. For the vessel went to pieces during 
the night, and the next morning the beach was strewn with wreckage 
boxes and barrels, chests and spars, timbers and planks, a plentiful 
and bountiful harvest to be gathered up by the settlers as they 
chose, with no one to forbid or prevent them. 

The name of the bark, as found painted on some of the water 
barrels and sea chests, was the Bristol Merchant, and she no doubt 
hailed from England. 

As was said, the only soul who escaped alive off the wreck was 
Tom Chist. 

A settler, a fisherman named Matt Abrahamson, and his 
daughter Molly, found Tom. He was washed up on the beach 
among the wreckage, in a great wooden box which had been se- 
curely tied around with a rope and lashed between two spars 
apparently for better protection in beating through the surf. Matt 
Abrahamson thought he had found something of more than usual 
value when he came upon this chest; but when he cut the cords 


Tom Chist and the Treasure Box 

and broke open the box with his broadax, he could not have been 
more astonished had he beheld a salamander instead of a baby of 
nine or ten months old lying half smothered in the blankets that 
covered the bottom of the chest. 

Matt Abrahamson's daughter Molly had had a baby who had 
died a month or so before. So when she saw the little one lying 
there in the bottom of the chest, she cried out in a great loud voice 
that the Good Man had sent her another baby in place of her own. 

The rain was driving before the hurricane storm in dim, slant- 
ing sheets, and so she wrapped up the baby in the man's coat she 
wore and ran off home without waiting to gather up any more of 
the wreckage. 

It was Parson Jones who gave the foundling his name. When 
the news came to his ears of what Matt Abrahamson had found 
he went over to the fisherman's cabin to see the child. He ex- 
amined the clothes in which the baby was dressed. They were of 
fine linen and handsomely stitched, and the reverend gentleman 
opined that the foundling's parents must have been of quality. 
A kerchief had been wrapped around the baby's neck and under its 
arms and tied behind, and in the corner, marked with very fine 
needlework, were the initials T. C. 

"What d'ye call him, Molly?" said Parson Jones. He was 
standing, as he spoke, with his back to the fire, warming his palms 
before the blaze. The pocket of the greatcoat he wore bulged out 
with a big case bottle of spirits which he had gathered up out of 
the wreck that afternoon. "What d'ye call him, Molly?" 

"I'll call him Tom, after my own baby." 

"That goes very well with the initial on the kerchief," said 
Parson Jones. "But what other name d'ye give him? Let it be 
something to go with the C." 

"I don't know," said Molly. 

"Why not call him 'Chist,' since he was born in a chist out of 
the sea? 'Tom Chist' the name goes off like a flash in the pan." 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

And so "Tom Chist" he was called and "Tom Chist" he was 

So much for the beginning of the history of Tom Chist. The 
story of Captain Kidd's treasure box does not begin until the late 
spring of 1699. 

That was the year that the famous pirate captain, coming 
up from the West Indies, sailed his sloop into the Delaware Bay, 
where he lay for over a month waiting for news from his friends in 
New York. 

For he had sent word to that town asking if the coast was 
clear for him to return home with the rich prize he had brought 
from the Indian seas and the coast of Africa, and meantime he lay 
there in the Delaware Bay waiting for a reply. Before he left he 
turned the whole of Tom Chist's life topsy-turvy with something 
that he brought ashore. 

By that time Tom Chist had grown into a strong-limbed, 
thick-jointed boy of fourteen or fifteen years of age. It was a 
miserable dog's life he lived with old Matt Abrahamson, for the 
old fisherman was in his cups more than half the time, and when 
he was so there was hardly a day passed that he did not give Tom a 
curse or a buffet or, as like as not, an actual beating. One would 
have thought that such treatment would have broken the spirit 
of the poor little foundling, but it had just the opposite effect upon 
Tom Chist, who was one of your stubborn, sturdy, stiff-willed fellows 
who only grow harder and more tough the more they are ill-treated. 
It had been a long time now since he had made any outcry or 
complaint at the hard usage he suffered from old Matt. At such 
times he would shut his teeth and bear whatever came to him, 
until sometimes the half-drunken old man would be driven almost 
mad by his stubborn silence. Maybe he would stop in the midst 
of the beating he was administering, and, grinding his teeth, would 
cry out: "Won't ye say naught? Won't ye say naught? Well, 
then, I'll see if I can't make ye say naught." When things had 


Tom Chist and the Treasure Box 

reached such a pass as this Molly would generally interfere to pro- 
tect her foster son, and then she and Tom would together fight the 
old man until they had wrenched the stick or the strap out of his 
hand. Then old Matt would chase them out of doors and around 
and around the house for maybe half an hour, until his anger was 
cool, when he would go back again, and for a time the storm would 
be over. 

Besides his foster mother, Tom Chist had a very good friend 
in Parson Jones, who used to come over every now and then to 
Abrahamson's hut upon the chance of getting a half dozen fish 
for breakfast. He always had a kind word or two for Tom, who 
during the winter evenings would go over to the good man's house to 
learn his letters, and to read and write and cipher a little, so that 
by now he was able to spell the words out of the Bible and the 
almanac, and knew enough to change tuppence into four ha'pennies. 

This is the sort of boy Tom Chist was, and this is the sort of 
life he led. 

In the late spring or early summer of 1699 Captain Kidd's 
sloop sailed into the mouth of the Delaware Bay and changed the 
whole fortune of his life. 

And this is how you come to the story of Captain Kidd's treasure 



Old Matt Abrahamson kept the flat-bottomed boat in which 
he went fishing some distance down the shore, and in the neighbor- 
hood of the old wreck that had been sunk on the Shoals. This was 
the usual fishing ground of the settlers, and here old Matt's boat 
generally lay drawn up on the sand. 

There had been a thunderstorm that afternoon, and Tom 
had gone down the beach to bale out the boat in readiness for the 
morning's fishing. 

It was full moonlight now, as he was returning, and the night 
sky was full of floating clouds. Now and then there was a dull 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

flash to the westward, and once a muttering growl of thunder, 
promising another storm to come. 

All that day the pirate sloop had been lying just off the shore 
back of the Capes, and now Tom Chist could see the sails glimmering 
pallidly in the moonlight, spread for drying after the storm. He 
was walking up the shore homeward when he became aware that 
at some distance ahead of him there was a ship's boat drawn up 
on the little narrow beach, and a group of men clustered about it. 
He hurried forward with a good deal of curiosity to see who had 
landed, but it was not until he had come close to them that he 
could distinguish who and what they were. Then he knew that 
it must be a party who had come off the pirate sloop. They had 
evidently just landed, and two men were lifting out a chest from 
the boat. One of them was a negro, naked to the waist, and the 
other was a white man in his shirt sleeves, wearing petticoat breeches, 
a Monterey cap upon his head, a red bandanna handkerchief around 
his neck, and gold earrings in his ears. He had a long, plaited 
queue hanging down his back, and a great sheath knife dangling 
from his side. Another man, evidently the captain of the party, 
stood at a little distance as they lifted the chest out of the boat. 
He had a cane in one hand and a lighted lantern in the other, 
although the moon was shining as bright as day. He wore jack 
boots and a handsome laced coat, and he had a long, drooping 
mustache that curled down below his chin. He wore a fine, feathered 
hat, and his long black hair hung down upon his shoulders. 

All this Tom Chist could see in the moonlight that glinted 
and twinkled upon the gilt buttons of his coat. 

They were so busy lifting the chest from the boat that at 
first they did not observe that Tom Chist had come up and was 
standing there. It was the white man with the long, plaited 
queue and the gold earrings that spoke to him. "Boy, what 
do you want here, boy?" he said, in a rough, hoarse voice. "Where 
d'ye come from?" And then dropping his end of the chest, and 



Tom Chist and the Treasure Box 

without giving Tom time to answer, he pointed off down the beach, 
and said, "You'd better be going about your own business, if you 
know what's good for you; and don't you come back, or you'll 
find what you don't want waiting for you." 

Tom saw in a glance that the pirates were all looking at him, 
and then, without saying a word, he turned and walked away. 
The man who had spoken to him followed him threateningly 
for some little distance, as though to see that he had gone away 
as he was bidden to do. But presently he stopped, and Tom 
hurried on alone, until the boat and the crew and all were dropped 
away behind and lost in the moonlight night. Then he himself 
stopped also, turned, and looked back whence he had come. 

There had been something very strange in the appearance 
of the men he had just seen, something very mysterious in their 
actions, and he wondered what it all meant, and what they were 
going to do. He stood for a little while thus looking and listening. 
He could see nothing, and could hear only the sound of distant 
talking. What were they doing on the lonely shore thus at 
night? Then, following a sudden impulse, he turned and cut off 
across the sand hummocks, skirting around inland, but keeping 
pretty close to the shore, his object being to spy upon them, and 
to watch what they were about from the back of the low sand 
hills that fronted the beach. 

He had gone along some distance in his circuitous return when 
he became aware of the sound of voices that seemed to be drawing 
closer to him as he came toward the speakers. He stopped and 
stood listening, and instantly, as he stopped, the voices stopped 
also. He crouched there silently in the bright, glimmering moon- 
light, surrounded by the silent stretches of sand, and the stillness 
seemed to press upon him like a heavy hand. Then suddenly the 
sound of a man's voice began again, and as Tom listened he could 
hear some one slowly counting. "Ninety-one," the voice began, 
"ninety-two, ninety-three, ninety-four, ninety-five, ninety-six, 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred, one hundred 
and one" the slow, monotonous count coming nearer and nearer; 
"one hundred and two, one hundred and three, one hundred and 
four," and so on in its monotonous reckoning. 

Suddenly he saw three heads appear above the sand hill, so 
close to him that he crouched down quickly with a keen thrill, 
close beside the hummock near which he stood. His first fear 
was that they might have seen him in the moonlight; but they 
had not, and his heart rose again as the counting voice went steadily 
on. "One hundred and twenty," it was saying "and twenty- 
one, and twenty-two, and twenty-three, and twenty-four," and 
then he who was counting came out from behind the little sandy 
rise into the white and open level of shimmering brightness. 

It was the man with the cane whom Tom had seen some time 
before the captain of the party who had landed. He carried his 
cane under his arm now, and was holding his lantern close to some- 
thing that he held in his hand, and upon which he looked narrowly 
as he walked with a slow and measured tread in a perfectly straight 
line across the sand, counting each step as he took it. "And twenty- 
five, and twenty-six, and twenty-seven, and twenty-eight, and 
twenty-nine, and thirty." 

Behind him walked two other figures; one 
was the half-naked negro, the other the man 
with the plaited queue and the earrings, whom 
Tom had seen lifting the chest out of the boat. 
Now they were carrying the heavy box be- 
tween them, laboring through the sand with 
shuffling tread as they bore it onward. 

As he who was counting pronounced the 
word "thirty," the two men set the chest 
down on the sand with a grunt, the white 
man panting and blowing and wiping his sleeve 
across his forehead. And immediately he who 

Tom Chist and the Treasure Box 

counted took out a slip of paper and marked something down upon 
it. They stood there for a long time, during which Tom lay be- 
hind the sand hummock watching them, and for a while the silence 
was uninterrupted. In the perfect stillness Tom could hear the 
washing of the little waves beating upon the distant beach, and 
once the far-away sound of a laugh from one of those who stood 
by the ship's boat. 

One, two, three minutes passed, and then the men picked 
up the chest and started on again; and then again the other man 
began his counting. "Thirty and one, and thirty and two, and 
thirty and three, and thirty and four" he walked straight across 
the level open, still looking intently at that which he held in his 
hand "and thirty and five, and thirty and six, and thirty and 
seven," and so on, until the three figures disappeared in the little 
hollow between the two sand hills on the opposite side of the open, 
and still Tom could hear the sound of the counting voice in the 

Just as they disappeared behind the hill there was a sudden 
faint flash of light; and by and by, as Tom lay still listening to the 
counting, he heard, after a long interval, a far-away muffled rumble 
of distant thunder. He waited for a while, and then arose and 
stepped to the top of the sand hummock behind which he had been 
lying. He looked all about him, but there was no one else to be 
seen. Then he stepped down from the hummock and followed 
in the direction which the pirate captain and the two men carrying 
the chest had gone. He crept along cautiously, stopping now and 
then to make sure that he still heard the counting voice, and when 
it ceased he lay down upon the sand and waited until it began again. 

Presently, so following the pirates, he saw the three figures 
again in the distance, and, skirting around back of a hill of sand 
covered with coarse sedge grass, he came to where he overlooked a 
little open level space gleaming white in the moonlight. 

The three had been crossing the level of sand, and were now 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

not more than twenty-five paces from him. They had again set 
down the chest, upon which the white man with the long queue 
and the gold earrings had seated to rest himself, the negro standing 
close beside him. The moon shone as bright as day and full upon 
his face. It was looking directly at Tom Chist, every line as keen 
cut with white lights and black shadows as though it had been 
carved in ivory and jet. He sat perfectly motionless, and Tom 
drew back with a start, almost thinking he had been discovered. 
He lay silent, his heart beating heavily in his throat; but there was 
no alarm, and presently he heard the counting begin again, and 
when he looked once more he saw they were going away straight 
across the little open. A soft, sliding hillock of sand lay directly 
in front of them. They did not turn aside, but went straight over 
it, the leader helping himself up the sandy slope with his cane, still 
counting and still keeping his eyes fixed upon that which he held 
in his hand. Then they disappeared again behind the white crest 
on the other side. 

So Tom followed them cautiously until they had gone almost 
half a mile inland. When next he saw them clearly it was from a 
little sandy rise which looked down like the crest of a bowl upon 
the floor of sand below. Upon this smooth, white floor the moon 
beat with almost dazzling brightness. 

The white man who had helped to carry the chest was now 
kneeling, busied at some work, though what it was Tom at first 
could not see. He was whittling the point of a stick into a long 
wooden peg, and when, by and by, he had finished what he was 
about, he arose and stepped to where he who seemed to be the 
captain had stuck his cane upright into the ground as though to 
mark some particular spot. He drew the cane out of the sand, 
thrusting the stick down in its stead. Then he drove the long peg 
down with a wooden mallet which the negro handed to him. The 
sharp rapping of the mallet upon the top of the peg sounded loud 
in the perfect stillness, and Tom lay watching and wondering what 


Kidd at Gardiner's Island 

Illustration from 

by Thomas A. Janvier 

Originally published in 
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, November, 1894 

Tom Chist and the Treasure Box 

it all meant. The man, with quick-repeated blows, drove the 
peg farther and farther down into the sand until it showed only 
two or three inches above the surface. As he finished his work 
there was another faint flash of light, and by and by another 
smothered rumble of thunder, and Tom, as he looked out toward 
the westward, saw the silver rim of the round and sharply outlined 
thundercloud rising slowly up into the sky and pushing the other 
and broken drifting clouds before it. 

The two white men were now stooping over the peg, the 
negro man watching them. Then presently the man with the cane 
started straight away from the peg, carrying the end of a measuring 
line with him, the other end of which the man with the plaited queue 
held against the top of the peg. When the pirate captain had 
reached the end of the measuring line he marked a cross upon the 
sand, and then again they measured out another stretch of space. 

So they measured a distance five times over, and then, from 
where Tom lay, he could see the man with the queue drive another 
peg just at the foot of a sloping rise of sand that swept up beyond 
into a tall white dune marked sharp and clear against the night 
sky behind. As soon as the man with the plaited queue had 
driven the second peg into the ground they began measuring again, 
and so, still measuring, disappeared in another direction which 
took them in behind the sand dune where Tom no longer could see 
what they were doing. 

The negro still sat by the chest where the two had left him, 
and so bright was the moonlight that from where he lay Tom could 
see the glint of it twinkling in the whites of his eyeballs. 

Presently from behind the hill there came, for the third time, 
the sharp rapping sound of the mallet driving still another peg, and 
then after a while the two pirates emerged from behind the sloping 
whiteness into the space of moonlight again. 

They came direct to where the chest lay, and the white man 
and the black man lifting it once more, they walked away across 
8 [ 109 ] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

the level of open sand, and so on behind the edge of the hill and 
out of Tom's sight. 


Tom Chist could no longer see what the pirates were doing, 
neither did he dare to cross over the open space of sand that now 
lay between them and him. He lay there speculating as to what 
they were about, and meantime the storm cloud was rising higher 
and higher above the horizon, with louder and louder mutterings 
of thunder following each dull flash from out the cloudy, cavernous 
depths. In the silence he could hear an occasional click as of some 
iron implement, and he opined that the pirates were burying the 
chest, though just where they were at work he could neither see 
nor tell. 

Still he lay there watching and listening, and by and by a puff 
of warm air blew across the sand, and a thumping tumble of louder 
thunder leaped from out the belly of the storm cloud, which every 
minute was coming nearer and nearer. Still Tom Chist lay watching. 

Suddenly, almost unexpectedly, the three figures reappeared 
from behind the sand hill, the pirate captain leading the way, and 
the negro and white man following close behind him. They had 
gone about halfway across the white, sandy level between the hill 
and the hummock behind which Tom Chist lay, when the white 
man stopped and bent over as though to tie his shoe. 

This brought the negro a few steps in front of his companion. 

That which then followed happened so suddenly, so unex- 
pectedly, so swiftly, that Tom Chist had hardly time to realize 
what it all meant before it was over. As the negro passed him the 
white man arose suddenly and silently erect, and Tom Chist saw 
the white moonlight glint upon the blade of a great dirk knife 
which he now held in his hand. He took one, two silent, catlike 
steps behind the unsuspecting negro. Then there was a sweeping 
flash of the blade in the pallid light, and a blow, the thump of 
which Tom could distinctly hear even from where he lay stretched 


Tom Chist and the Treasure Box 

out upon the sand. There was an instant echoing yell from the 
black man, who ran stumbling forward, who stopped, who regained 
his footing, and then stood for an instant as though rooted to the 

Tom had distinctly seen the knife enter his back, and even 
thought that he had seen the glint of the point as it came out from 
the breast. 

Meantime the pirate captain had stopped, and now stood 
with his hand resting upon his cane looking impassively on. 

Then the black man started to run. The white man stood 
for a while glaring after him; then he, too, started after his victim 
upon the run. The black man was not very far from Tom when he 
staggered and fell. He tried to rise, then fell forward again, and 
lay at length. At that instant the first edge of the cloud cut 
across the moon, and there was a sudden darkness; but in the 
silence Tom heard the sound of another blow and a groan, and 
then presently a voice calling to the pirate captain that it was 
all over. 

He saw the dim form of the captain crossing the level sand, 
and then, as the moon sailed out from behind the cloud, he saw 
the white man standing over a black figure that lay 
motionless upon the sand. 

Then Tom Chist scrambled up and ran away, 
plunging down into the hollow of sand that lay in 
the shadows below. Over the next rise he ran, and 
down again into the next black hollow, and so on over 
the sliding, shifting ground, panting and gasping. It 
seemed to him that he could hear footsteps 
following, and in the terror that possessed 
him he almost expected every instant to 
feel the cold knife blade slide between his 
own ribs in such a thrust from behind as 
he had seen given to the poor black man. 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

So he ran on like one in a nightmare. His feet grew heavy 
like lead, he panted and gasped, his breath came hot and dry in his 
throat. But still he ran and ran until at last he found himself 
in front of old Matt Abrahamson's cabin, gasping, panting, and 


sobbing for breath, his knees relaxed and his thighs trembling with 

As he opened the door and dashed into the darkened cabin 
(for both Matt and Molly were long ago asleep in bed) there was a 
flash of light, and even as he slammed to the door behind him 
there was an instant peal of thunder, heavy as though a great 
weight had been dropped upon the roof of the sky, so that the 
doors and windows of the cabin rattled. 


Then Tom Chist crept to bed, trembling, shuddering, bathed 
hi sweat, his heart beating like a trip hammer, and his brain dizzy 
from that long, terror-inspired race through the soft sand in which 
he had striven to outstrip he knew not what pursuing horror. 

For a long, long time he lay awake, trembling and chattering 
with nervous chills, and when he did fall asleep it was only to drop 


Tom Chist and the Treasure Box 

into monstrous dreams in which he once again saw ever enacted, 
with various grotesque variations, the tragic drama which his 
waking eyes had beheld the night before. 

Then came the dawning of the broad, wet daylight, and 
before the rising of the sun Tom was up and out of doors to find 
the young day dripping with the rain of overnight. 

His first act was to climb the nearest sand hill and to gaze 
out toward the offing where the pirate ship had been the day 

It was no longer there. 

Soon afterward Matt Abrahamson came out of the cabin and 
he called to Tom to go get a bite to eat, for it was time for them 
to be away fishing. 

All that morning the recollection of the night before hung 
over Tom Chist like a great cloud of boding trouble. It filled 
the confined area of the little boat and spread over the entire wide 
spaces of sky and sea that surrounded them. Not for a moment 
was it lifted. Even when he was hauling in his wet and dripping 
line with a struggling fish at the end of it a recurrent memory of 
what he had seen would suddenly come upon him, and he would 
groan in spirit at the recollection. He looked at Matt Abraham- 
son's leathery face, at his lantern jaws cavernously and stolidly 
chewing at a tobacco leaf, and it seemed monstrous to him that 
the old man should be so unconscious of the black cloud that 
wrapped them all about. 

When the boat reached the shore again he leaped scrambling 
to the beach, and as soon as his dinner was eaten he hurried away 
to find the Dominie Jones. 

He ran all the way from Abrahamson's hut to the parson's 
house, hardly stopping once, and when he knocked at the door he 
was panting and sobbing for breath. 

The good man was sitting on the back-kitchen doorstep smok- 
ing his long pipe of tobacco out into the sunlight, while his wife 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

within was rattling about among the pans and dishes in preparation 
of their supper, of which a strong, porky smell already filled the air. 

Then Tom Chist told his story, panting, hurrying, tumbling 
one word over another in his haste, and Parson Jones listened, break- 
ing every now and then into an ejaculation of wonder. The light 
in his pipe went out and the bowl turned cold. 

"And I don't see why they should have killed the poor black 
man," said Tom, as he finished his narrative. 

"Why, that is very easy enough to understand," said the 
good reverend man. " 'Twas a treasure box they buried!" 

In his agitation Mr. Jones had risen from his seat and was 
now stumping up and down, puffing at his empty tobacco pipe as 
though it were still alight. 

"A treasure box!" cried out Tom. 

"Aye, a treasure box! And that was why they killed the poor 
black man. He was the only one, d'ye see, besides they two who 
knew the place where 'twas hid, and now that they've killed him 
out of the way, there's nobody but themselves knows. The 
villains Tut, tut, look at that now!" In his excitement the 
dominie had snapped the stem of his tobacco pipe in two. 

"Why, then," said Tom, "if that is so, 'tis indeed a wicked, 
bloody treasure, and fit to bring a curse upon anybody who finds it!" 

" 'Tis more like to bring a curse upon the soul who buried it," 
said Parson Jones, "and it may be a blessing to him who finds it. 
But tell me, Tom, do you think you could find the place again 
where 'twas hid?" 

"I can't tell that," said Tom, "'twas all in among the sand 
humps, d'ye see, and it was at night into the bargain. Maybe we 
could find the marks of their feet in the sand," he added. 

" 'Tis not likely," said the reverend gentleman, "for the storm 
last night would have washed all that away." 

"I could find the place," said Tom, "where the boat was 

drawn up on the beach." 


Tom Chfst and the Treasure Box 

"Why, then, that's something to start from, Tom," said his 
friend. "If we can find that, then maybe we can find whither 
they went from there." 

"If I was certain it was a treasure box," cried out Tom Chist, 
"I would rake over every foot of sand betwixt here and Henlopen 
to find it." 

" 'Twould be like hunting for a pin in a haystack," said the 
Rev. Hilary Jones. 

As Tom walked away home, it seemed as though a ton's weight 
of gloom had been rolled away from his soul. The next day he 
and Parson Jones were to go treasure-hunting together; it seemed 
to Tom as though he could hardly wait for the time to come. 

The next afternoon Parson Jones and Tom Chist started off 
together upon the expedition that made Tom's fortune forever. 
Tom carried a spade over his shoulder and the reverend gentleman 
walked along beside him with his cane. 

As they jogged along up the beach they talked together about 
the only thing they could talk about the treasure box. "And 
how big did you say 'twas?" quoth the good gentleman. 

"About so long," said Tom Chist, measuring off upon the 
spade, "and about so wide, and this deep." 

"And what if it should be full of money, Tom?" said the 
reverend gentleman, swinging his cane around and around in 
wide circles in the excitement of the thought, as he strode along 
briskly. "Suppose it should be full of money, what then?" 

"By Moses!" said Tom Chist, hurrying to keep up with his 
friend, "I'd buy a ship for myself, I would, and I'd trade to Injy 
and to Chiny to my own boot, I would. Suppose the chist was all 
full of money, sir, and suppose we should find it; would there be 
enough in it, d'ye suppose, to buy a ship?" 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

"To be sure there would be enough, Tom; enough and to spare, 
and a good big lump over." 

"And if I find it 'tis mine to keep, is it, and no mistake?" 

"Why, to be sure it would be yours!" cried out the parson, 
in a loud voice. "To be sure it would be yours!" He knew 
nothing of the law, but the doubt of the question began at once to 
ferment in his brain, and he strode along in silence for a while. 
"Whose else would it be but yours if you find it?" he burst out. 
"Can you tell me that?" 

"If ever I have a ship of my own," said Tom Chist, "and 
if ever I sail to Injy in her, I'll fetch ye back the best chist of tea, 
sir, that ever was fetched from Cochin Chiny." 

Parson Jones burst out laughing. "Thankee, Tom," he said; 
"and I'll thankee again when I get my chist of tea. But tell me, 
Tom, didst thou ever hear of the farmer girl who counted her 
chickens before they were hatched?" 

It was thus they talked as they hurried along up the beach 
together, and so came to a place at last where Tom stopped short 
and stood looking about him. 'Twas just here," he said, "I 
saw the boat last night. I know 'twas here, for I mind me of that 
bit of wreck yonder, and that there was a tall stake drove in the 
sand just where yon stake stands." 

Parson Jones put on his barnacles and went over to the stake 
toward which Tom pointed. As soon as he had looked at it care- 
fully he called out: "Why, Tom, this hath been just drove down 
into the sand. 'Tis a brand-new stake of wood, and the pirates 
must have set it here themselves as a mark, just as they drove 
the pegs you spoke about down into the sand." 

Tom came over and looked at the stake. It was a stout piece 
of oak nearly two inches thick ; it had been shaped with some care, 
and the top of it had been painted red. He shook the stake and 
tried to move it, but it had been driven or planted so deeply into 
the sand that he could not stir it. "Aye, sir," he said, "it must 



Torn Chist and the Treasure Box 

have been set here for a mark, for I'm sure 'twas not here yester- 
day or the day before." He stood looking about him to see if there 
were other signs of the pirates' presence. At some little distance 
there was the corner of something white sticking up out of the 
sand. He could see that it was a scrap of paper, and he pointed 
to it, calling out: " Yonder is a piece of paper, sir. I wonder if 
they left that behind them?" 

It was a miraculous chance that placed that paper there. 
There was only an inch of it showing, and if it had not been for 
Tom's sharp eyes, it would certainly have been overlooked and 
passed by. The next windstorm would have covered it up, and 
all that afterward happened never would have occurred. "Look, 
sir," he said, as he struck the sand from it, "it hath writing on it." 

"Let me see it," said Parson Jones. He adjusted the spectacles 
a little more firmly astride of his nose as he took the paper in his 
hand and began conning it. "What's all this?" he said; "a 
whole lot of figures and nothing else." And then he read aloud, 
"'Mark S. S. W. S. by S.' What d'ye suppose that means, 

"I don't know, sir," said Tom. "But maybe we can under- 
stand it better if you read on." 

"Tis all a great lot of figures," said Parson Jones, "without a 
grain of meaning in them so far as I can see, unless they be sailing 
directions." And then he began reading again: "'Mark S. S. W. 
by S. 40, 72, 91, 130, 151, 177, 202, 232, 256, 271' d'ye see, it 
must be sailing directions ' 299, 335, 362, 386, 415, 446, 469, 
491, 522, 544, 571, 598' what a lot of them there be '626, 652, 
676, 695, 724, 851, 876, 905, 940, 967. Peg. S. E. by E. 269 foot. 
Peg. S. S. W. by S. 427 foot. Peg. Dig to the west of this six 

"What's that about a peg?" exclaimed Tom. "What's that 
about a peg? And then there's something about digging, too!" 
It was as though a sudden light began shining into his brain. He 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

felt himself growing quickly very excited. " Read that over again, 
sir," he cried. "Why, sir, you remember I told you they drove 
a peg into the sand. And don't they say to dig close to it? Read 
it over again, sir read it over again!" 

"Peg?" said the good gentleman. "To be sure it was about 
a peg. Let's look again. Yes, here it is. 'Peg S. E. by E. 269 
foot.' " 

"Aye!" cried out Tom Chist again, in great excitement. 
"Don't you remember what I told you, sir, 269 foot? Sure that 
must be what I saw 'em measuring with the line." 

Parson Jones had now caught the flame of excitement that 
was blazing up so strongly in Tom's breast. He felt as though 
some wonderful thing was about to happen to them. "To be sure, 
to be sure!" he called out, in a great big voice. "And then they 
measured out 427 foot south-southwest by south, and they then 
drove another peg, and then they buried the box six foot to the 
west of it. Why, Tom why, Tom Chist! if we've read this aright, 
thy fortune is made." 

Tom Chist stood staring straight at the old gentleman's excited 
face, and seeing nothing but it in all the bright infinity of sun- 
shine. Were they, indeed, about to find the treasure chest? He 
felt the sun very hot upon his shoulders, and he heard the harsh, 
insistent jarring of a tern that hovered and circled with forked 
tail and sharp white wings in the sunlight just above their heads; 
but all the time he stood staring into the good old gentleman's 

It was Parson Jones who first spoke. "But what do all these 
figures mean?" And Tom observed how the paper shook and 
rustled in the tremor of excitement that shook his hand. He 
raised the paper to the focus of his spectacles and began to read 
again. "'Mark 40, 72, 91 '" 

"Mark?" cried out Tom, almost screaming. "Why, that 
must mean the stake yonder; that must be the mark." And he 


Tom Chist and the Treasure Box 

pointed to the oaken stick with its red tip blazing against the 
white shimmer of sand behind it. 

"And the 40 and 72 and 91," cried the old gentleman, in a 
voice equally shrill "why, that must mean the number of steps 
the pirate was counting when you heard him." 

" To be sure that's what they mean ! " cried Tom Chist. " That 
is it, and it can be nothing else. Oh, come, sir come, sir; let 
us make haste and find it!" 

"Stay! stay!" said the good gentleman, holding up his hand; 
and again Tom Chist noticed how it trembled and shook. His 
voice was steady enough, though very hoarse, but his hand shook 
and trembled as though with a palsy. "Stay! stay! First of all, 
we must follow these measurements. And 'tis a marvelous thing," 
he croaked, after a little pause, "how this paper ever came to be here." 

"Maybe it was blown here by the storm," suggested Tom Chist. 

"Like enough; like enough," said Parson Jones. "Like 
enough, after the wretches had buried the chest and killed the poor 
black man, they were so buffeted and bowsed about by the storm 
that it was shook out of the man's pocket, and thus blew away 
from him without his knowing aught of it." 

"But let us find the box!" cried out Tom Chist, flaming with 
his excitement. 

"Aye, aye," said the good man; "only stay a little, my boy, 
until we make sure what we're about. I've got my pocket compass 
here, but we must have something to measure off the feet when 
we have found the peg. You run across to Tom Brooke's house 
and fetch that measuring rod he used to lay out his new byre. 
While you're gone I'll pace off the distance marked on the paper 
with my pocket compass here." 


Tom Chist was gone for almost an hour, though he ran nearly 
all the way and back, upborne as on the wings of the wind. When 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 


he returned, panting, Parson Jones was nowhere to be seen, but 
Tom saw his footsteps leading away inland, and he followed the 
scuffling marks in the smooth surface across the sand humps and 
down into the hollows, and by and by found the good gentleman 
in a spot he at once knew as soon as he laid his eyes upon it. 

It was the open space where the pirates had driven their first 
peg, and where Tom Chist had afterward seen them kill the poor 
black man. Tom Chist gazed around as though expecting to see 
some sign of the tragedy, but the space was as smooth and as 
undisturbed as a floor, excepting where, midway across it, Parson 
Jones, who was now stooping over something on the ground, had 
trampled it all around about. 

When Tom Chist saw him he was still bending over, scraping 
away from something he had found. 
It was the first peg! 

Inside of half an hour they had found the second and third 
pegs, and Tom Chist stripped off his coat, and began digging like 
mad down into the sand, Parson Jones standing over him watching 
him. The sun was sloping well toward the west when the blade 
*v of Tom Chist's spade struck upon something hard. 

If it had been his own heart that he had hit in the sand 
his breast could hardly have thrilled more sharply. 
It was the treasure box! . 

Parson Jones himself leaped down into the hole, and began 
scraping away the sand with his hands as though he had gone 
crazy. At last, with some difficulty, they tugged and hauled 
the chest up out of the sand to the surface, where it 
lay covered all over with the grit that clung to it. 

It was securely locked and fastened with a pad- 
lock, and it took a good many blows with the blade 
of the spade to burst the bolt. Parson Jones himself 
lifted the lid. 

Tom Chist leaned forward and gazed 

Tom Chist and the Treasure Box 

down into the open box. He would not have been surprised to 
have seen it filled full of yellow gold and bright jewels. It was 
filled hah 7 full of books and papers, and half full of canvas bags 
tied safely and securely around and around with cords of string. 

Parson Jones lifted out one of the bags, and it jingled as he did 
so. It was full of money. 

He cut the string, and with trembling, shaking hands handed 
the bag to Tom, who, in an ecstasy of wonder and dizzy with 
delight, poured out with swimming sight upon the coat spread 
on the ground a cataract of shining silver money that rang and 
twinkled and jingled as it fell in a shining heap upon the coarse 

Parson Jones held up both hands into the air, and Tom stared 
at what he saw, wondering whether it was all so, and whether he 
was really awake. It seemed to him as though he was in a dream. 

There were two-and-twenty bags in all in the chest: ten of 
them full of silver money, eight of them full of gold money, three 
of them full of gold dust, and one small bag with jewels wrapped up 
in wad cotton and paper. 

" 'Tis enough," cried out Parson Jones, "to make us both rich 
men as long as we live." 

The burning summer sun, though sloping in the sky, beat 
down upon them as hot as fire; but neither of them noticed it. 
Neither did they notice hunger nor thirst nor fatigue, but sat 
there as though in a trance, with the bags of money scattered on 
the sand around them, a great pile of money heaped upon the 
coat, and the open chest beside them. It was an hour of sundown 
before Parson Jones had begun fairly to examine the books and 
papers in the chest. 

Of the three books, two were evidently log books of the pirates 
who had been lying off the mouth of the Delaware Bay all this 
time. The other book was written in Spanish, and was evidently 
the log book of some captured prize. 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

It was then, sitting there upon the sand, the good old gentle- 
man reading in his high, cracking voice, that they first learned from 
the bloody records in those two books who it was who had been 
lying inside the Cape all this time, and that it was the famous 
Captain Kidd. Every now and then the reverend gentleman would 
stop to exclaim, "Oh, the bloody wretch!" or, "Oh, the desperate, 
cruel villains!" and then would go on reading again a scrap here 
and a scrap there. 

And all the while Tom Chist sat and listened, every now and 
then reaching out furtively and touching the heap of money still 
lying upon the coat. 

One might be inclined to wonder why Captain Kidd had kept 
those bloody records. He had probably laid them away because 
they so incriminated many of the great people of the colony of 
New York that, with the books in evidence, it would have been 
impossible to bring the pirate to justice without dragging a dozen 
or more fine gentlemen into the dock along with him. If he could 
have kept them in his own possession they would doubtless have 
been a great weapon of defense to protect him from the gallows. 
Indeed, when Captain Kidd was finally brought to conviction and 
hung, he was not accused of his piracies, but of striking a mutinous 
seaman upon the head with a bucket and accidentally killing him. 
The authorities did not dare try him for piracy. He was really 
hung because he was a pirate, and we know that it was the log 
books that Tom Chist brought to New York that did the business 
for him; he was accused and convicted of manslaughter for killing 
of his own ship carpenter with a bucket. 

So Parson Jones, sitting there in the slanting light, read through 
these terrible records of piracy, and Tom, with the pile of gold and 
silver money beside him, sat and listened to him. 

What a spectacle, if anyone had come upon them! But they 
were alone, with the vast arch of sky empty above them and the 
wide white stretch of sand a desert around them. The sun sank 


Tom Chist and the Treasure Box 

lower and lower, until there was only time to glance through the 
other papers in the chest. 

They were nearly all goldsmiths' bills of exchange drawn in favor 
of certain of the most prominent merchants of New York. Parson 
Jones, as he read over the names, knew of nearly all the gentlemen 
by hearsay. Aye, here was this gentleman; he thought that name 
would be among 'em. What? Here is Mr. So-and-so. Well, if 
all they say is true, the villain has robbed one of his own best friends. 
"I wonder," he said, "why the wretch should have hidden these 
papers so carefully away with the other treasures, for they could 
do him no good?" Then, answering his own question: "Like 
enough because these will give him a hold over the gentlemen to 
whom they are drawn so that he can make a good bargain for his 
own neck before he gives the bills back to their owners. I tell you 
what it is, Tom," he continued, "it is you yourself shall go to New 
York and bargain for the return of these papers. 'Twill be as good 
as another fortune to you." 

The majority of the bills were drawn in favor of one Richard 
Chillingsworth, Esquire. "And he is," said Parson Jones, "one 
of the richest men in the province of New York. You shall go to 
him with the news of what we have found." 

"When shall I go?" said Tom Chist. 

"You shall go upon the very first boat we can catch," said 
the parson. He had turned, still holding the bills in his hand, 
and was now fingering over the pile of money that yet lay tumbled 
out upon the coat. "I wonder, Tom," said he, "if you could spare 
me a score or so of these doubloons?" 

"You shall have fifty score, if you choose," said Tom, bursting 
with gratitude and with generosity in his newly found treasure. 

"You are as fine a lad as ever I saw, Tom," said the parson, 
"and I'll thank you to the last day of my life." 

Tom scooped up a double handful of silver money. "Take it. 
sir," he said, "and you may have as much more as you want of it." 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

He poured it Into the dish that the good man made of his 
hands, and the parson made a motion as though to empty it into 
his pocket. Then he stopped, as though a sudden doubt had 
occurred to him. "I don't know that 'tis fit for me to take this 
pirate money, after all," he said. 

"But you are welcome to it," said Tom. 

Still the parson hesitated. "Nay," he burst out, "I'll not 
take it; 'tis blood money." And as he spoke he chucked the 
whole double handful into the now empty chest, then arose and 
dusted the sand from his breeches. Then, with a great deal of 
bustling energy, he helped to tie the bags again and put them all 
back into the chest. 

They reburied the chest in the place whence they had taken 
it, and then the parson folded the precious paper of directions, 
placed it carefully in his wallet, and his wallet in his pocket. "Tom," 
he said, for the twentieth time, "your fortune has been made this 

And Tom Chist, as he rattled in his breeches pocket the hah* 
dozen doubloons he had kept out of his treasure, felt that what his 
friend had said was true. 

As the two went back homeward across the level space of sand 
Tom Chist suddenly stopped stock-still and stood looking about 
him. " 'Twas just here," he said, digging his heel down into the 
sand, "that they killed the poor black man." 

"And here he lies buried for all time," said Parson Jones; 
and as he spoke he dug his cane down into the sand. Tom Chist 
shuddered. He would not have been surprised if the ferrule of the 
cane had struck something soft beneath that level surface. But it 
did not, nor was any sign of that tragedy ever seen again. For, 
whether the pirates had carried away what they had done and 
buried it elsewhere, or whether the storm in blowing the sand had 
completely leveled off and hidden all sign of that tragedy where it 


: Pirates Used to Do That to Their Captains 
Now and Then" 

Illustration from. 

by Thomas A. Janvier 
Originally published in 

HARPER'S MAGAZINE, November, 1894 

Tom Chist and the Treasure Box 

was enacted, certain it is that it never came to sight again at least 
so far as Tom Chist and the Rev. Hilary Jones ever knew. 


This is the story of the treasure box. All that remains now 
is to conclude the story of Tom Chist, and to tell of what came 
of him in the end. 

He did not go back again to live with old Matt Abrahamson. 
Parson Jones had now taken charge of him and his fortunes, and 
Tom did not have to go back to the fisherman's hut. 

Old Abrahamson talked a great deal about it, and would 
come in his cups and harangue good Parson Jones, making a vast 
protestation of what he would do to Tom if he ever caught him 
for running away. But Tom on all these occasions kept carefully out 
of his way, and nothing came of the old man's threatenings. 

Tom used to go over to see his foster mother now and then, 
but always when the old man was from home. And Molly Abra- 
hamson used to warn him to keep out of her father's way. "He's 
in as vile a humor as ever I see, Tom," she said; "he sits sulking 
all day long, and 'tis my belief he'd kill ye if he caught ye." 

Of course Tom said nothing, even to her, about the treasure, 
and he and the reverend gentleman kept the knowledge thereof 
to themselves. About three weeks later Parson Jones managed 
to get him shipped aboard of a vessel bound for New York town, 
and a few days later Tom Chist landed at that place. He had 
never been in such a town before, and he could not sufficiently 
wonder and marvel at the number of brick houses, at the multitude 
of people coming and going along the fine, hard, earthen sidewalk, 
at the shops and the stores where goods hung in the windows, and, 
most of all, the fortifications and the battery at the point, at the 
rows of threatening cannon, and at the scarlet-coated sentries pac- 
ing up and down the ramparts. All this was very wonderful, and 
so were the clustered boats riding at anchor in the harbor. It was 
9 [ 125 ] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

like a new world, so different was it from the sand hills and the 
sedgy levels of Henlopen. 

Tom Chist took up his lodgings at a coffee house near to the 
town hall, and thence he sent by the postboy a letter written by 
Parson Jones to Master Chillingsworth. In a little while the boy 
returned with a message, asking Tom to come up to Mr. Chillings- 
worth's house that afternoon at two o'clock. 

Tom went thither with a great deal of trepidation, and his 
heart fell away altogether when he found it a fine, grand brick house, 
three stories high, and with wrought-iron letters across the front. 

The counting house was hi the same building; but Tom, 
because of Mr. Jones's letter, was conducted directly into the 
parlor, where the great rich man was awaiting his coming. He 
was sitting in a leather-covered armchair, smoking a pipe of to- 
bacco, and with a bottle of fine old Madeira close to his elbow. 

Tom had not had a chance to buy a new suit of clothes yet, 
and so he cut no very fine figure in the rough dress he had brought 
with him from Henlopen. Nor did Mr. Chillingsworth seem to 
think very highly of his appearance, for he sat looking sideways 
at Tom as he smoked. 

"Well, my lad," he said, "and what is this great thing you 
have to tell me that is so mightily wonderful? I got what's-his- 
name Mr. Jones's letter, and now I am ready to hear what 
you have to say." 

But if he thought but little of his visitor's appearance at first, 
he soon changed his sentiments toward him, for Tom had not 
spoken twenty words when Mr. Chillingsworth's whole aspect 
changed. He straightened himself up in his seat, laid aside his 
pipe, pushed away his glass of Madeira, and bade Tom take a chair. 

He listened without a word as Tom Chist told of the buried 
treasure, of how he had seen the poor negro murdered, and of how 
he and Parson Jones had recovered the chest again. Only once 
did Mr. Chillingsworth interrupt the narrative. "And to think," 


Tom Chist and the Treasure Box 

he cried, "that the villain this very day walks about New York 
town as though he were an honest man, ruffling it with the best of 
us! But if we can only get hold of these log books you speak of. 
Goon; tell me more of this." 

When Tom Chist's narrative was ended, Mr. Chillingsworth's 
bearing was as different as daylight is from dark. He asked a 
thousand questions, all in the most polite and gracious tone imagi- 
nable, and not only urged a glass of his fine old Madeira upon Tom, 
but asked him to stay to supper. There was nobody to be there, 
he said, but his wife and daughter. 

Tom, all in a panic at the very thought of the two ladies, 
sturdily refused to stay even for the dish of tea Mr. Chillingsworth 
offered him. 

He did not know that he was destined to stay there as long 
as he should live. 

"And now," said Mr. Chillingsworth, "tell me about yourself." 

"I have nothing to tell, Your Honor," said Tom. "except that 
I was washed up out of the sea." 

"Washed up out of the sea!" exclaimed Mr. Chillingsworth. 
"Why, how was that? Come, begin at the beginning, and tell 
me all." 

Thereupon Tom Chist did as he was bidden, beginning at the 
very beginning and telling everything just as Molly Abrahamson 
had often told it to him. As he continued, Mr. Chillingsworth's 
interest changed into an appearance of stronger and stronger 
excitement. Suddenly he jumped up out of his chair 
and began to walk up and down the room. 

"Stop! stop!" he cried out at last, in the midst 
of something Tom was saying. "Stop! stop! Tell 
me; do you know the name of the vessel that was 
wrecked, and from which you were washed ashore?" 

"I've heard it said," said Tom Chist, " 'twas the 
Bristol Merchant." 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

"I knew it! I knew it!" exclaimed the great man, in a loud 
voice, flinging his hands up into the air. "I felt it was so the 
moment you began the story. But tell me this, was there nothing 
found with you with a mark or a name upon it?" 

"There was a kerchief," said Tom, "marked with a T and a C." 
"Theodosia Chillingsworth ! " cried out the merchant. "I 
knew it! I knew it! Heavens! to think of anything so won- 
derful happening as this! Boy! boy! dost thou know who thou 
art? Thou art my own brother's son. His name was Oliver 
Chillingsworth, and he was my partner in business, and thou art 
his son." Then he ran out into the entryway, shouting and calling 
for his wife and daughter to come. 

So Tom Chist or Thomas Chillingsworth, as he now was to be 
called did stay to supper, after all. 

This is the story, and I hope you may like it. For Tom Chist 
became rich and great, as was to be supposed, and he married his 
pretty cousin Theodosia (who had been named for his own mother, 
drowned in the Bristol Merchant). 

He did not forget his friends, but had Parson Jones brought 
to New York to live. 

As to Molly and Matt Abrahamson, they both enjoyed a pen- 
sion of ten pounds a year for as long as they lived; for now that 
all was well with him, Tom bore no grudge against the old fisherman 
for all the drubbings he had suffered. 

The treasure box was brought on to New York, and if Tom 
Chist did not get all the money there was in it (as Parson Jones 
had opined he would) he got at least a good big lump of it. 

And it is my belief that those log books did more to get Captain 
Kidd arrested in Boston town and hanged in London than anything 
else that was brought up against him. 


E, of these times, protected as we are by the laws 
and by the number of people about us, can hardly 
comprehend such a life as that of the American 
colonies in the early part of the eighteenth century, 
when it was possible for a pirate like Capt. Teach, 
known as Blackbeard, to exist, and for the governor and the sec- 
retary of the province in which he lived perhaps to share his plunder, 
and to shelter and to protect him against the law. 

At that time the American colonists were in general a rough, 
rugged people, knowing nothing of the finer things of life. They 
lived mostly in little settlements, separated by long distances from 
one another, so that they could neither make nor enforce laws to 
protect themselves. Each man or little group of men had to 
depend upon his or their own strength to keep what belonged to 
them, and to prevent fierce men or groups of men from seizing what 
did not belong to them. 

It is the natural disposition of everyone to get all that he can. 
Little children, for instance, always try to take away from others 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

that which they want, and to keep it for their own. It is only 
by constant teaching that they learn that they must not do so; 
that they must not take by force what does not belong to them. 
So it is only by teaching and training that people learn to be honest 
and not to take what is not theirs. ^Yhen this teaching is not 
sufficient to make a man learn to be honest, or when there is some- 
thing in the man's nature that makes him not able to learn, then 
he only lacks the opportunity to seize upon the things he wants, 
just as he would do if he were a little child. 

In the colonies at that time, as was just said, men were too 
few and scattered to protect themselves against those who had 
made up their minds to take by force that which they wanted, and 
so it was that men lived an unrestrained and lawless life, such as 
we of these times of better government can hardly comprehend. 

The usual means of commerce between province and province 
was by water in coasting vessels. These coasting vessels were so 
defenseless, and the different colonial governments were so ill 
able to protect them, that those who chose to rob them could do 
it almost without danger to themselves. 

So it was that all the western world was, in those days, infested 
with armed bands of cruising freebooters or pirates, who used to 
stop merchant vessels and take from them what they chose. 

Each province in those days was ruled over by a royal governor 
appointed by the king. Each governor, at one tune, was free 
to do almost as he pleased in his own province. He was accountable 
only to the king and his government, and England was so distant 
that he was really responsible almost to nobody but himself. 

The governors were naturally just as desirous to get rich quickly, 
just as desirous of getting all that they could for themselves, as was 
anybody else only they had been taught and had been able to 
learn that it was not right to be an actual pirate or robber. They 
wanted to be rich easily and quickly, but the desire was not strong 
enough to lead them to dishonor themselves in their own opinion 


Jack Ballister's Fortunes 

and in the opinion of others by gratifying their selfishness. They 
would even have stopped the pirates from doing what they did 
if they could, but then: provincial governments were too weak 
to prevent the freebooters from robbing merchant vessels, or to 
punish them when they came ashore. The provinces had no 
navies, and they really had no armies; neither were there enough 
people living within the community to enforce the laws against 
those stronger and fiercer men who were not honest. 

After the things the pirates seized from merchant vessels were 
once stolen they were altogether lost. Almost never did any owner 
apply for them, for it would be useless to do so. The stolen goods 
and merchandise lay in the storehouses of the pirates, seemingly 
without any owner excepting the pirates themselves. 

The governors and the secretaries of the colonies would not 
dishonor themselves by pirating upon merchant vessels, but it did 
not seem so wicked after the goods were stolen and so altogether 
lost to take a part of that which seemed to have no owner. 

A child is taught that it is a very wicked thing to take, for 
instance, by force, a lump of sugar from another child; but when 
a wicked child has seized the sugar from another and taken it around 
the corner, and that other child from whom he has seized it has gone 
home crying, it does not seem so wicked for the third child to take a 
bite of the sugar when it is offered to him, even if he thinks it has 
been taken from some one else. 

It was just so, no doubt, that it did not seem so wicked to 
Governor Eden and Secretary Knight of North Carolina, or to 
Governor Fletcher of New York, or to other colonial governors, 
to take a part of the booty that the pirates, such as Blackbeard, 
had stolen. It did not even seem very wicked to compel such 
pirates to give up a part of what was not theirs, and which seemed 
to have no owner. 

In Governor Eden's time, however, the colonies had begun 
to be more thickly peopled, and the laws had gradually become 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

stronger and stronger to protect men in the possession of what 
was theirs. Governor Eden was the last of the colonial governors 
who had dealings with the pirates, and Blackbeard was almost 
the last of the pirates who, with his banded men, was savage and 
powerful enough to come and go as he chose among the people 
whom he plundered. 

Virginia, at that tune, was the greatest and the richest of all 
the American colonies, and upon the farther side of North Carolina 
was the province of South Carolina, also strong and rich. It was 
these two colonies that suffered the most from Blackbeard, and 
it began to be that the honest men that lived in them could endure 
no longer to be plundered. 

The merchants and traders and others who suffered cried out 
loudly for protection, so loudly that the governors of these prov- 
inces could not help hearing them. 

Governor Eden was petitioned to act against the pirates, but 
he would do nothing, for he felt very friendly toward Blackbeard 
just as a child who has had a taste of the stolen sugar feels friendly 
toward the child who gives it to him. 

At last, when Blackbeard sailed up into the very heart of 
Virginia, and seized upon and carried away the daughter of that 
colony's foremost people, the governor of Virginia, finding that the 
governor of North Carolina would do nothing to punish the outrage, 
took the matter into his own hands and issued a proclamation 
offering a reward of one hundred pounds for Blackbeard, alive or 
dead, and different sums for the other pirates who were his followers. 

Governor Spottiswood had the right to issue the proclamation, 
but he had no right to commission Lieutenant Maynard, as he 
did, to take down an armed force into the neighboring province 
and to attack the pirates in the waters of the North Carolina 
sounds. It was all a part of the rude and lawless condition of the 
colonies at the time that such a thing could have been done. 

The governor's proclamation against the pirates was issued 


"Jack Followed the Captain and the Young 
Lady up the Crooked Path to the House" 

Illustration from 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published by 

The Century Company, 1894 

Jack Ballister's Fortunes 

upon the eleventh day of November. It was read in the churches 
the Sunday following and was posted upon the doors of all the 
government custom offices in lower Virginia. Lieutenant Maynard, 
in the boats that Colonel Parker had already fitted out to go against 
the pirates, set sail upon the seventeenth of the month for Ocracoke. 
Five days later the battle was fought. 

Blackbeard's sloop was lying inside of Ocracoke Inlet among 
the shoals and sand bars when he first heard of Governor Spottis- 
wood's proclamation. 

There had been a storm, and a good many vessels had run 
into the inlet for shelter. Blackbeard knew nearly all of the 
captains of these vessels, and it was from them that he first heard 
of the proclamation. 

He had gone aboard one of the vessels a coaster from Boston. 
The wind was still blowing pretty hard from the southeast. There 
were maybe a dozen vessels lying within the inlet at that time, and 
the captain of one of them was paying the Boston skipper a visit 
when Blackbeard came aboard. The two captains had been 
talking together. They instantly ceased when the pirate came 
down into the cabin, but he had heard enough of their conversa- 
tion to catch its drift. "Why d'ye stop?" he said. "I heard 
what you said. Well, what then? D'ye think I mind it at all? 
Spottiswood is going to send his bullies down here after me. That's 
what you were saying. Well, what then? You don't think I'm 
afraid of his bullies, do you?" 

"Why, no, Captain, I didn't say you was afraid," said the 
visiting captain. 

"And what right has he got to send down here against me 
in North Carolina, I should like to ask you?" 

"He's got none at all," said the Boston captain, soothingly. 
"Won't you take a taste of Hollands, Captain?" 

"He's no more right to come blustering down here into Gov- 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

ernor Eden's province than I have to come aboard of your schooner 
here, Tom Burley, and to carry off two or three kegs of this prime 
Hollands for my own drinking." 

Captain Burley the Boston man laughed a loud, forced 
laugh. "Why, Captain," he said, "as for two or three kegs of 
Hollands, you won't find that aboard. But if you'd like to have 
a keg of it for your own drinking, I'll send it to you and be glad 
enough to do so for old acquaintance' sake." 

"But I tell you what 'tis, Captain," said the visiting skipper 
to Blackbeard, "they're determined and set against you this time. 
I tell you, Captain, Governor Spottiswood hath issued a hot procla- 
mation against you, and 't hath been read out in all the churches. 
I myself saw it posted in Yorktown upon the customhouse door 
and read it there myself. The governor offers one hundred pounds 
for you, and fifty pounds for your officers, and twenty pounds each 
for your men." 

"Well, then," said Blackbeard, holding up his glass, "here, 
I wish 'em good luck, and when they get then- hundred pounds 
for me they'll be in a poor way to spend it. As for the Hollands," 
said he, turning to Captain Burley, "I know what you've got 
aboard here and what you haven't. D'ye suppose ye can blind 
me? Very well, you send over two kegs, and I'll let you go without 
search." The two captains were very silent. "As for that Lieu- 
tenant Maynard you're all talking about," said Blackbeard, " why, 
I know him very well. He was the one who was so busy with the 
pirates down Madagascar way. I believe you'd all like to see him 
blow me out of the water, but he can't do it. There's nobody in 
His Majesty's service I'd rather meet than Lieutenant Maynard. 
I'd teach him pretty briskly that North Carolina isn't Madagascar." 

On the evening of the twenty-second the two vessels under com- 
mand of Lieutenant Maynard came into the mouth of Ocracoke 
Inlet and there dropped anchor. Meantime the weather had 


Jack Ballister's Fortunes 

cleared, and all the vessels but one had gone from the inlet. The 
one vessel that remained was a New Yorker. It had been there 
over a night and a day, and the captain and Blackbeard had become 
very good friends. 

The same night that Maynard came into the inlet a wedding 
was held on the shore. A number of men and women came up the 
beach in oxcarts and sledges; others had come in boats from more 
distant points and across the water. 

The captain of the New Yorker and Blackbeard went ashore 
together a little after dark. The New Yorker had been aboard 
of the pirate's sloop for all the latter part of the afternoon, and 
he and Blackbeard had been drinking together in the cabin. The 
New York man was now a little tipsy, and he laughed and talked 
foolishly as he and Blackbeard were rowed ashore. The pirate 
sat grim and silent. 

It was nearly dark when they stepped ashore on the beach. 
The New York captain stumbled and fell headlong, rolling over and 
over, and the crew of the boat burst out laughing. 

The people had already begun to dance in an open shed front- 
ing upon the shore. There were fires of pine knots in front of the 
building, lighting up the interior with a red glare. A negro was 
playing a fiddle somewhere inside, and the shed was filled with a 
crowd of grotesque dancing figures men and women. Now and 
then they called with loud voices as they danced, and the squeak- 
ing of the fiddle sounded incessantly through the noise of outcries 
and the stamp and shuffling of feet. 

Captain Teach and the New York captain stood looking on. 
The New York man had tilted himself against a post and stood 
there holding one arm around it, supporting himself. He waved 
the other hand foolishly in time to the music, now and then snapping 
his thumb and finger. 

The young woman who had just been married approached the 
two. She had been dancing, and she was w.rm and red, her hair 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

blowzed about her head. "Hi, Captain, won't you dance with 
me?" she said to Blackbeard. 

Blackbeard stared at her. "Who be you?" he said. 

She burst out laughing. "You look as if you'd eat a body," 
she cried. 

Blackbeard's face gradually relaxed. "Why, to be sure, 
you're a brazen one, for all the world," he said. "Well, I'll dance 
with you, that I will. I'll dance the heart out of you." 

He pushed forward, thrusting aside with his elbow the newly 
made husband. The man, who saw that Blackbeard had been 
drinking, burst out laughing, and the other men and women who 
had been standing around drew away, so that in a little while the 
floor was pretty well cleared. One could see the negro now; he sat 
on a barrel at the end of the room. He grinned with his white 
teeth and, without stopping in his fiddling, scraped his bow harshly 
across the strings, and then instantly changed the tune to a lively 
jig. Blackbeard jumped up into the air and clapped his heels 
together, giving, as he did so, a sharp, short yell. Then he began 
instantly dancing grotesquely and violently. The woman danced 
opposite to him, this way and that, with her knuckles on her hips. 
Everybody burst out laughing at Blackbeard's grotesque antics. 
They laughed again and again, clapping their hands, and the 
negro scraped away on his fiddle like fury. The woman's hair 
came tumbling down her back. She tucked it back, laughing and 
panting, and the sweat ran down her face. She danced and danced. 
At last she burst out laughing and stopped, panting. Blackbeard 
again jumped up ha the air and clapped his heels. Again he yelled, 
and as he did so, he struck his heels upon the floor and spun around. 
Once more everybody burst out laughing, clapping their hands, 
and the negro stopped fiddling. 

Near by was a shanty or cabin where they were selling spirits, 
and by and by Blackbeard went there with the New York captain, 
and presently they began drinking again. "Hi, Captain!" called 


"He Led Jack up to a Man Who Sat upon a 

Illustration jrom 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published by 

The Century Company, 1894 

Jack Ballister's Fortunes 

one of the men, "Maynard's out yonder in the inlet. Jack Bishop's 
just come across from t'other side. He says Mr. Maynard hailed 
him and asked for a pilot to fetch him in." 

"Well, here's luck to him, and he can't come in quick enough 
for me!" cried out Blackbeard in his hoarse, husky voice. 

"Well, Captain," called a voice, "will ye fight him to- 

"Aye," shouted the pirate, "if he can get in to me, I'll try 
to give 'em what they seek, and all they want of it into the bargain. 
As for a pilot, I tell ye what 'tis if any man hereabouts goes out 
there to pilot that villain in 'twill be the worst day's work he ever 
did in all of his life. 'Twon't be fit for him to live in these parts 
of America if I am living here at the same time." There was a 
burst of laughter. 

"Give us a toast, Captain! Give us something to drink to! 
Aye, Captain, a toast! A toast!" a half dozen voices were calling 
out at the same time. 

"W T ell," cried out the pirate captain, "here's to a good, hot 
fight to-morrow, and the best dog on top ! 'Twill be, Bang ! bang ! 
this way!" 

He began pulling a pistol out of his pocket, but it stuck in the 
lining, and he struggled and tugged at it. The men ducked and 
scrambled away from before him, and then the next moment he 
had the pistol out of his pocket. He swung it around and around. 
There was perfect silence. Suddenly there was a flash and a stun- 
ning report, and instantly a crash and tinkle of broken glass. One 
of the men cried out, and began picking and jerking at the back 
of his neck. "He's broken that bottle all down my neck," he 
called out. 

"That's the way 'twill be," said Blackbeard. 

"Lookee," said the owner of the place, "I won't serve out an- 
other drop if 'tis going to be like that. If there's any more trouble 

I'll blow out the lantern." 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

The sound of the squeaking and scraping of the fiddle and the 
shouts and the scuffling feet still came from the shed where the 
dancing was going on. 

"Suppose you get your dose to-morrow, Captain," some one 
called out, "what then?" 

"Why, if I do," said Blackbeard, "I get it, and that's all 
there is of it." 

" Your wife '11 be a rich widdy then, won't she? " cried one of the 
men; and there was a burst of laughter. 

"Why," said the New York captain, "why, has a a bloody 
p-pirate like you a wife then a like any honest man?" 

"She'll be no richer than she is now," said Blackbeard. 

"She knows where you've hid your money, anyways. Don't 
she, Captain?" called out a voice. 

"The divil knows where I've hid my money," said Blackbeard, 
"and I know where I've hid it; and the longest liver of the twain 
will git it all. And that's all there is of it." 

The gray of early day was beginning to show in the east when 
Blackbeard and the New York captain came down to the landing 
together. The New York captain swayed and toppled this way 
and that as he walked, now falling against Blackbeard, and now 
staggering away from him. 


Early in the morning perhaps eight o'clock Lieutenant 
Maynard sent a boat from the schooner over to the settlement, 
which lay some four or five miles distant. A number of men 
stood lounging on the landing, watching the approach of the boat. 
The men rowed close up to the wharf, and there lay upon their 
oars, while the boatswain of the schooner, who was in command 
of the boat, stood up and asked if there was any man there who 
could pilot them over the shoals. 

Nobody answered, but all stared stupidly at him. After a 


Jack Ballister's Fortunes 

while one of the men at last took his pipe out of his mouth. 
"There ben't any pilot here, master," said he; "we ben't 

" Why, what a story you do tell ! " roared the boatswain. " D'ye 
suppose I've never been down here before, not to know that every 
man about here knows the passes of the shoals?" 

The fellow still held his pipe in his hand. He looked at another 
one of the men. "Do you know the passes in over the shoals, 
Jem?" said he. 

The man to whom he spoke was a young fellow with long, 
shaggy, sunburnt hair hanging over his eyes in an unkempt mass. 
He shook his head, grunting, "Na I don't know naught about 
t' shoals." 

"'Tis Lieutenant Maynard of His Majesty's navy in com- 
mand of them vessels out there," said the boatswain. "He'll give 
any man five pound to pilot him in." The men on the wharf 
looked at one another, but still no one spoke, and the boatswain 
stood looking at them. He saw that they did not choose to answer 
him. "Why," he said, "I believe you've not got right wits 
that's what I believe is the matter with you. Pull me up to the 
landing, men, and I'll go ashore and see if I can find anybody 
that's willing to make five pound for such a little bit of piloting 
as that." 

After the boatswain had gone ashore the loungers still stood 
on the wharf, looking down into the boat, and began talking to 
one another for the men below to hear them. "They're coming 
in," said one, "to blow poor Blackbeard out of the water." "Aye," 
said another, "he's so peaceable, too, he is; he'll just lay still and 
let 'em blow and blow, he will." "There's a young fellow there," 
said another of the men; "he don't look fit to die yet, he don't. 
Why, I wouldn't be in his place for a thousand pound." "I do 
suppose Blackbeard's so afraid he don't know how to see," said the 

first speaker. 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

At last one of the men in the boat spoke up. "Maybe he 
don't know how to see," said he, "but maybe we'll blow some 
daylight into him afore we get through with him." 

Some more of the settlers had come out from the shore to the 
end of the wharf, and there was now quite a crowd gathering there, 
all looking at the men in the boat. "What do them Virginny 
'baccy-eaters do down here in Caroliny, anyway?" said one of the 
newcomers. "They've got no call to be down here in North Caro- 
liny waters." 

"Maybe you can keep us away from coming, and maybe you 
can't," said a voice from the boat. 

"Why," answered the man on the wharf, "we could keep 
you away easy enough, but you ben't worth the trouble, and that's 
the truth." 

There was a heavy iron bolt lying near the edge of the landing. 
One of the men upon the wharf slyly thrust it out with the end of 
his foot. It hung for a moment and then fell into the boat below 
with a crash. "What d'ye mean by that?" roared the man in 
charge of the boat. "What d'ye mean, ye villains? D'ye mean to 
stave a hole in us?" 

"Why," said the man who had pushed it, "you saw 'twasn't 
done a purpose, didn't you?" 

"Well, you try it again, and somebody '11 get hurt," said the 
man in the boat, showing the butt end of his pistol. 

The men on the wharf began laughing. Just then the boat- 
swain came down from the settlement again, and out along the 
landing. The threatened turbulence quieted as he approached, 
and the crowd moved sullenly aside to let him pass. He did not 
bring any pilot with him, and he jumped down into the stern of the 
boat, saying, briefly, "Push off." The crowd of loungers stood 
looking after them as they rowed away, and when the boat was some 
distance from the landing they burst out into a volley of derisive 
yells. "The villains!" said the boatswain, "they are all in league 


Jack Ballister's Fortunes 

together. They wouldn't even let me go up into the settlement 
to look for a pilot." 

The lieutenant and his sailing master stood watching the boat 
as it approached. "Couldn't you, then, get a pilot, Baldwin?" 
said Mr. Maynard, as the boatswain scrambled aboard. 

"No, I couldn't, sir," said the man. "Either they're all 
banded together, or else they're all afraid of the villains. They 
wouldn't even let me go up into the settlement to find one." 

"Well, then," said Mr. Maynard, "we'll make shift to work 
in as best we may by ourselves. 'Twill be high tide against one 
o'clock. We'll run in then with sail as far as we can, and then 
we'll send you ahead with the boat to sound for a pass, and we'll 
follow with the sweeps. You know the waters pretty well, you say." 

"They were saying ashore that the villain hath forty men 
aboard," said the boatswain. 1 

Lieutenant Maynard's force consisted of thirty-five men in the 
schooner and twenty-five men in the sloop. He carried neither 
cannons nor carronades, and neither of his vessels was very well 
fitted for the purpose for which they were designed. The schooner, 
which he himself commanded, offered almost no protection to the 
crew. The rail was not more than a foot high in the waist, and 
the men on the deck were almost entirely exposed. The rail of the 
sloop was perhaps a little higher, but it, too, was hardly better 
adapted for fighting. Indeed, the lieutenant depended more upon 
the moral force of official authority to overawe the pirates than 
upon any real force of arms or men. He never believed, until the 
very last moment, that the pirates would show any real fight. 
It is very possible that they might not have done so had they not 
thought that the lieutenant had actually no legal right supporting 
him in his attack upon them in North Carolina waters. 

1 The pirate captain had really only twenty-five men aboard of his sloop at the time of the 

10 [ 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

It was about noon when anchor was hoisted, and, with the 
schooner leading, both vessels ran slowly in before a light wind that 
had begun to blow toward midday. In each vessel a man stood 
in the bows, sounding continually with lead and line. As they 
slowly opened up the harbor within the inlet, they could see the 
pirate sloop lying about three miles away. There was a boat 
just putting off from it to the shore. 

The lieutenant and his sailing master stood together on the 
roof of the cabin deckhouse. The sailing master held a glass to his 
eye. "She carries a long gun, sir," he said, "and four carronades. 
She'll be hard to beat, sir, I do suppose, armed as we are with only 
light arms for close fighting." 

The lieutenant laughed. "Why, Brookes," he said, "you 
seem to think forever of these men showing fight. You don't 
know them as I know them. They have a deal of bluster and 
make a deal of noise, but when you seize them and hold them 
with a strong hand, there's naught of fight left in them. 'Tis like 
enough there '11 not be so much as a musket fired to-day. Tve had 
to do with 'em often enough before to know my gentlemen well 
by this time." Nor, as was said, was it until the very last that 
the lieutenant could be brought to believe that the pirates had any 
stomach for a fight. 

The two vessels had reached perhaps within a mile of the 
pirate sloop before they found the water too shoal to venture any 
farther with the sail. It was then that the boat was lowered as the 
lieutenant had planned, and the boatswain went ahead to sound, 
the two vessels, with their sails still hoisted but empty of wind, 
polling in after with sweeps. 

The pirate had also hoisted sail, but lay as though waiting for 
the approach of the schooner and the sloop. 

The boat in which the boatswain was sounding had run in a 
considerable distance ahead of the two vessels, which were gradually 
creeping up with the sweeps until they had reached to within less 


"The Bullets Were Humming and Singing, 
Clipping Along the Top of the Water" 

Illustration from 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published by 

The Century Company, 1894 

Jack Ballister's Fortunes 

than half a mile of the pirates the boat with the boatswain maybe 
a quarter of a mile closer. Suddenly there was a puff of smoke 
from the pirate sloop, and then another and another, and the next 
moment there came the three reports of muskets up the wind. 

"By zounds!" said the lieutenant. "I do believe they're firing 
on the boat!" And then he saw the boat turn and begin pulling 
toward them. 

The boat with the boatswain aboard came rowing rapidly. 
Again there were three or four puffs of smoke and three or four 
subsequent reports from the distant vessel. Then, in a little 
while, the boat was alongside, and the boatswain came scrambling 
aboard. "Never mind hoisting the boat," said the lieutenant; 
"we'll just take her in tow. Come aboard as quick as you can." 
Then, turning to the sailing master, "Well, Brookes, you'll have 
to do the best you can to get in over the shoals under half sail." 

"But, sir," said the master, "we'll be sure to run aground." 

"Very well, sir," said the lieutenant, "you heard my orders. 
If we run aground we run aground, and that's all there is of it." 

"I sounded as far as maybe a little over a fathom," said the 
mate, "but the villains would let me go no nearer. I think I was 
in the channel, though. 'Tis more open inside, as I mind me of it. 
There's a kind of a hole there, and if we get in over the shoals just 
beyond where I was we'll be all right." 

"Very well, then, you take the wheel, Baldwin," said the 
lieutenant, "and do the best you can for us." 

Lieutenant Maynard stood looking out forward at the pirate 
vessel, which they were now steadily nearing under half sail. He 
could see that there were signs of bustle aboard and of men running 
around upon the deck. Then he walked aft and around the cabin. 
The sloop was some distance astern. It appeared to have run 
aground, and they were trying to push it off with the sweeps. 
The lieutenant looked down into the water over the stern, and 
saw that the schooner was already raising the mud in her wake. 

\ 143 ] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

Then he went forward along the deck. His men were crouching 
down along by the low rail, and there was a tense quietness of 
expectation about them. The lieutenant looked them over as he 
passed them. "Johnson," he said, "do you take the lead and 
line and go forward and sound a bit." Then to the others: "Now, 
my men, the moment we run her aboard, you get aboard of her as 
quick as you can, do you understand? Don't wait for the sloop 
or think about her, but just see that the grappling irons are fast, 
and then get aboard. If any man offers to resist you, shoot him 
down. Are you ready, Mr. Cringle?" 

"Aye, aye, sir," said the gunner. 

"Very well, then, be ready, men; we'll be aboard 'em in a 
minute or two." 

"There's less than a fathom of water here, sir," sang out 
Johnson from the bows. As he spoke there was a sudden soft jar 
and jerk, then the schooner was still. They were aground. "Push 
her off to the lee there! Let go your sheets!" roared the boatswain 
from the wheel. "Push her off to the lee." He spun the wheel 
around as he spoke. A half a dozen men sprang up, seized the 
sweeps, and plunged them into the water. Others ran to help 
them, but the sweeps only sank into the mud without moving 
the schooner. The sails had fallen off and they were flapping and 
thumping and clapping in the wind. Others of the crew had 
scrambled to then- feet and ran to help those at the sweeps. The 
lieutenant had walked quickly aft again. They were very close 
now to the pirate sloop, and suddenly some one hailed him from 
aboard of her. "When he turned he saw that there was a man 
standing up on the rail of the pirate sloop, holding by the back 
stays. "Who are you?" he called, from the distance, "and whence 
come you? WTaat do you seek here? What d'ye mean, coming 
down on us this way?" 

The lieutenant heard somebody say, "That's Blackbeard his- 
self." And he looked with great interest at the distant figure. 


Jack Ballister's Fortunes 

The pirate stood out boldly against the cloudy sky. Some- 
body seemed to speak to him from behind. He turned his head 
and then he turned round again. "We're only peaceful merchant- 
men!" he called out. "What authority have you got to come down 
upon us this way? If you'll come aboard I'll show you my papers 
and that we're only peaceful merchantmen." 

"The villains!" said the lieutenant to the master, who stood 
beside him. "They're peaceful merchantmen, are they! They 
look like peaceful merchantmen, with four carronades and a long 
gun aboard!" Then he called out across the water, "I'll come 
aboard with my schooner as soon as I can push her off here." 

"If you undertake to come aboard of me," called the pirate, 
"I'll shoot into you. You've got no authority to board me, and 
I won't have you do it. If you undertake it 'twill be at your own 
risk, for I'll neither ask quarter of you nor give none." 

"Very well," said the lieutenant, "if you choose to try that, 
you may do as you please; for I'm coming aboard of you as sure as 

"Push off the bow there!" called the boatswain at the wheel. 
"Look alive! Why don't you push off the bow?" 

"She's hard aground!" answered the gunner. "We can't 
budge her an inch." 

"If they was to fire into us now," said the sailing master, 
"they'd smash us to pieces." 

"They won't fire into us," said the lieutenant. "They won't 
dare to." He jumped down from the cabin deckhouse as he spoke, 
and went forward to urge the men in pushing off the boat. It was 
already beginning to move. 

At that moment the sailing master suddenly called out, "Mr. 
Maynard! Mr. Maynard! they're going to give us a broadside!" 

Almost before the words were out of his mouth, before Lieu- 
tenant Maynard could turn, there came a loud and deafening crash, 
and then instantly another, and a third, and almost as instantly 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

a crackling and rending of broken wood. There were clean yellow 
splinters flying everywhere. A man fell violently against the 
lieutenant, nearly overturning him, but he caught at the stays and 
so saved himself. For one tense moment he stood holding his 
breath. Then all about him arose a sudden outcry of groans and 
shouts and oaths. The man who had fallen against him was lying 
face down upon the deck. His thighs were quivering, and a pool 
of blood was spreading and running out from under him. There 
were other men down, all about the deck. Some were rising; 
some were trying to rise; some only moved. 

There was a distant sound of yelling and cheering and shouting. 
It was from the pirate sloop. The pirates were rushing about upon 
her decks. They had pulled the cannon back, and, through the 
grunting sound of the groans about him, the lieutenant could 
distinctly hear the thud and punch of the rammers, and he knew 
they were going to shoot again. 

The low rail afforded almost no shelter against such a broad- 
side, and there was nothing for it but to order all hands below 
for the time being. 

"Get below!" roared out the lieutenant. "All hands get 
below and lie snug for further orders!" In obedience the men ran 
scrambling below into the hold, and in a little while the decks 
were nearly clear except for the three dead men and some three or 
four wounded. The boatswain, crouching down close to the wheel, 
and the lieutenant himself were the only others upon deck. Every- 
where there were smears and sprinkles of blood. "Where's 
Brookes?" the lieutenant called out. 

"He's hurt in the arm, sir, and he's gone below," said the boat- 

Thereupon the lieutenant himself walked over to the forecastle 
hatch, and, hailing the gunner, ordered him to get up another 
ladder, so that the men could be run up on deck if the pirates should 
undertake to come aboard. At that moment the boatswain at 


"The Combatants Cut and Slashed with 
Savage Fury" 

Illustration from. 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published by 

The Century Company, 1894 

Jack Ballister's Fortunes 

the wheel called out that the villains were going to shoot again, 
and the lieutenant, turning, saw the gunner aboard of the pirate 
sloop in the act of touching the iron to the touchhole. He stooped 
down. There was another loud and deafening crash of cannon, one, 
two, three four the last two almost together and almost in- 
stantly the boatswain called out, " 'Tis the sloop, sir! look at the 

The sloop had got afloat again, and had been coming up to 
the aid of the schooner, when the pirates fired their second broad- 
side now at her. When the lieutenant looked at her she 
she was quivering with the impact of the shot, and the next 
moment she began falling off to the wind, and he could see the 
wounded men rising and falling and struggling upon her decks. 

At the same moment the boatswain called out that the enemy 
was coming aboard, and even as he spoke the pirate sloop came 
drifting out from the cloud of smoke that enveloped her, looming 
up larger and larger as she came down upon them. The lieutenant 
still crouched down under the rail, looking out at them. Sud- 
denly, a little distance away, she came about, broadside on, and 
then drifted. She was close aboard now. Something came flying 
through the air another and another. They were bottles. One 
of them broke with a crash upon the deck. The others rolled over 
to the farther rail. In each of them a quick-match was smoking. 
Almost instantly there was a flash and a terrific report, and the 
air was full of the whiz and singing of broken particles of glass and 
iron. There was another report, and then the whole air seemed 
full of gunpowder smoke. "They're aboard of us!" shouted the 
boatswain, and even as he spoke the lieutenant roared out, "All 
hands to repel boarders!" A second later there came the heavy, 
thumping bump of the vessels coming together. 

Lieutenant Maynard, as he called out the order, ran forward 
through the smoke, snatching one of his pistols out of his pocket 
and the cutlass out of its sheath as he did so. Behind him the 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

men were coming, swarming up from below. There was a sudden 
stunning report of a pistol, and then another and another, almost 
together. There was a groan and the fall of a heavy body, and 
then a figure came jumping over the rail, with two or three more 
directly following. The lieutenant was in the midst of the gun- 
powder smoke, when suddenly Blackbeard was before him. The 
pirate captain had stripped himself naked to the waist. His 
shaggy black hair was falling over his eyes, and he looked like a 
demon fresh from the pit, with his frantic face. Almost with the 
blindness of instinct the lieutenant thrust out his pistol, firing it 
as he did so. The pirate staggered back: he was down no; he was 
up again. He had a pistol in each hand; but there was a stream 
of blood running down his naked ribs. Suddenly, the mouth of a 
pistol was pointing straight at the lieutenant's head. He ducked 
instinctively, striking upward with his cutlass as he did so. There 
was a stunning, deafening report almost in his ear. He struck again 
blindly with his cutlass. He saw the flash of a sword and flung 
up his guard almost instinctively, meeting the crash of the de- 
scending blade. Somebody shot from behind him, and at the same 
moment he saw some one else strike the pirate. Blackbeard stag- 
gered again, and this time there was a great gash upon his neck. 
Then one of Maynard's own men tumbled headlong upon him. He 
fell with the man, but almost instantly he had scrambled to his 
feet again, and as he did so he saw that the pirate sloop had drifted 
a little away from them, and that their grappling irons had evi- 
dently parted. His hand was smarting as though struck with the 
lash of a whip. He looked around him; the pirate captain was 
nowhere to be seen yes, there he was, lying by the rail. He 
raised himself upon his elbow, and the lieutenant saw that he was 
trying to point a pistol at him, with an arm that wavered and 
swayed blindly, the pistol nearly falling from his fingers. Suddenly 
his other elbow gave way and he fell down upon his face. He tried 
to raise himself he fell down again. There was a report and a 


Jack Ballister's Fortunes 

cloud of smoke, and when it cleared away Blackboard had staggered 
up again. He was a terrible figure his head nodding down upon 
his breast. Somebody shot again, and then the swaying figure 
toppled and fell. It lay still for a moment then rolled over 
then lay still again. 

There was a loud splash of men jumping overboard, and then, 
almost instantly, the cry of "Quarter! quarter!" The lieutenant 
ran to the edge of the vessel. It was as he had thought: the 
grappling irons of the pirate sloop had parted, and it had drifted 
away. The few pirates who had been left aboard of the schooner 
had jumped overboard and were now holding up their hands. 
"Quarter!" they cried. "Don't shoot! quarter!" And the fight 
was over. 

The lieutenant looked down at his hand, and then he saw, for 
the first time, that there was a great cutlass gash across the back 
of it, and that his arm and shirt sleeve were wet with blood. He 
went aft, holding the wrist of his wounded hand. The boatswain 
was still at the wheel. "By zounds!" said the lieutenant, with a 
nervous, quavering laugh, "I didn't know there was such fight in 
the villains." 

His wounded and shattered sloop was again coming up toward 
him under sail, but the pirates had surrendered, and the fight was 



MAY and Cape Henlopen form, as it were, the 
upper and lower jaws of a gigantic mouth, which 
disgorges from its monstrous gullet the cloudy 
waters of the Delaware Bay into the heaving, 
sparkling blue-green of the Atlantic Ocean. From 
Cape Henlopen as the lower jaw there juts out a long, curving fang 
of high, smooth-rolling sand dunes, cutting sharp and clean against 
the still, blue sky above silent, naked, utterly deserted, excepting 
for the squat, white-walled lighthouse standing upon the crest of 
the highest hill. Within this curving, sheltering hook of sand hills 
lie the smooth waters of Lewes Harbor, and, set a little back from the 
shore, the quaint old town, with its dingy wooden houses of clap- 
board and shingle, looks sleepily out through the masts of the 
shipping lying at anchor in the harbor, to the purple, clean-cut, 
level thread of the ocean horizon beyond. 

Lewes is a queer, odd, old-fashioned little town, smelling fra- 
grant of salt marsh and sea breeze. It is rarely visited by strangers. 
The people who live there are the progeny of people who have 
lived there for many generations, and it is the very place to nurse, 
and preserve, and care for old legends and traditions of bygone 
times, until they grow from bits of gossip and news into local his- 
tory of considerable size. As in the busier world men talk of 
last year's elections, here these old bits, and scraps, and odds and 
ends of history are retailed to the listener who cares to listen 
traditions of the War of 1812, when Beresford's fleet lay off the 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

harbor threatening to bombard the town; tales of the Revolution 
and of Earl Howe's warships, tarrying for a while in the quiet harbor 
before they sailed up the river to shake old Philadelphia town 
with the thunders of their guns at Red Bank and Fort Mifflin. 

With these substantial and sober threads of real history, 
other and naore lurid colors are interwoven into the web of local 
lore legends of the dark doings of famous pirates, of their mysteri- 
ous, sinister comings and goings, of treasures buried in the sand 
dunes and pine barrens back of the cape and along the Atlantic 
beach to the southward. 

Of such is the story of Blueskin, the pirate. 


It was in the fall and the early winter of the year 1750, and 
again in the summer of the year following, that the famous pirate, 
Blueskin, became especially identified with Lewes as a part of its 
traditional history. 

For some time for three or four years rumors and reports 
of Blueskin's doings in the West Indies and off the Carolinas had 
been brought in now and then by sea captains. There was no 
more cruel, bloody, desperate, devilish pirate than he in all those 
pirate-infested waters. All kinds of wild and bloody stories were 
current concerning him, but it never occurred to the good folk of 
Lewes that such stories were some time to be a part of their own 

But one day a schooner came drifting into Lewes harbor 
shattered, wounded, her forecastle splintered, her foremast shot 
half away, and three great tattered holes in her mainsail. The 
mate with one of the crew came ashore in the boat for help and a 
doctor. He reported that the captain and the cook were dead 
and there were three wounded men aboard. The story he told to 
the gathering crowd brought a very peculiar thrill to those who 
heard it. They had fallen in with Blueskin, he said, off Fenwick's 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

Island (some twenty or thirty miles below the capes), and the 
pirates had come aboard of them; but, finding that the cargo of the 
schooner consisted only of cypress shingles and lumber, had soon 
quitted their prize. Perhaps Blueskin was disappointed at not 
finding a more valuable capture; perhaps the spirit of deviltry 
was hotter in him that morning than usual; anyhow, as the pirate 
craft bore away she fired three broadsides at short range into the 
helpless coaster. The captain had been killed at the first fire, 
the cook had died on the way up, three of the crew were wounded, 
and the vessel was leaking fast, betwixt wind and water. 

Such was the mate's story. It spread like wildfire, and in 
half an hour all the town was in a ferment. Fenwick's Island was 
very near home; Blueskin might come sailing into the harbor at 
any minute and then ! In an hour Sheriff Jones had called to- 
gether most of the able-bodied men of the town, muskets and rifles 
were taken down from the chimney places, and every preparation 
was made to defend the place against the pirates, should they 
come into the harbor and attempt to land. 

But Blueskin did not come that day, nor did he come the next 
or the next. But on the afternoon of the third the news went sud- 
denly flying over the town that the pirates were inside the capes. 
As the report spread the people came running men, women, and 
children to the green before the tavern, where a little knot of old 
seamen were gathered together, looking fixedly out toward the 
offing, talking in low voices. Two vessels, one bark-rigged, the 
other and smaller a sloop, were slowly creeping up the bay, a 
couple of miles or so away and just inside the cape. There appeared 
nothing remarkable about the two crafts, but the little crowd that 
continued gathering upon the green stood looking out across the 
bay at them none the less anxiously for that. They were sailing 
close-hauled to the wind, the sloop following in the wake of her 
consort as the pilot fish follows in the wake of the shark. 

But the course they held did not lie toward the harbor, but 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

rather bore away toward the Jersey shore, and by and by it began 
to be apparent that Blueskin did not intend visiting the town. 
Nevertheless, those who stood looking did not draw a free breath 
until, after watching the two pirates for more than an hour and a 
half, they saw them then about six miles away suddenly put about 
and sail with a free wind out to sea again. 

"The bloody villains have gone!" said old Captain Wolfe, 
shutting his telescope with a click. 

But Lewes was not yet quit of Blueskin. Two days later a 
half-breed from Indian River bay came up, bringing the news 
that the pirates had sailed into the inlet some fif teen miles below 
Lewes and had careened the bark to clean her. 

Perhaps Blueskin did not care to stir up the country people 
against him, for the half-breed reported that the pirates were doing 
no harm, and that what they took from the farmers of Indian 
River and Rehoboth they paid for with good hard money. 

It was while the excitement over the pirates was at its highest 
fever heat that Levi West came home again. 


Even in the middle of the last century the grist mill, a couple 
of miles from Lewes, although it was at most but fifty or sixty years 
old, had all a look of weather-beaten age, for the cypress shingles, 
of which it was built, ripen in a few years of wind and weather to 
a silvery, hoary gray, and the white powdering of flour lent it a 
look as though the dust of ages had settled upon it, making the 
shadows within dim, soft, mysterious. A dozen willow trees 
shaded with dappling, shivering ripples of shadow the road before 
the mill door, and the mill itself, and the long, narrow, shingle- 
built, one-storied, hip-roofed dwelling house. At the time of the 
story the mill had descended in a direct line of succession to Hiram 
White, the grandson of old Ephraim White, who had built it, it 
was said, in 1701. 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

Hiram White was only twenty-seven years old, but he was 
already in local repute as a "character." As a boy he was thought 
to be half-witted or "natural," and, as is the case with such un- 
fortunates in small country towns where everybody knows every- 
body, he was made a common sport and jest for the keener, crueler 
wits of the neighborhood. Now that he was grown to the ripeness 
of manhood he was still looked upon as being to use a quaint 
expression "slack," or "not jest right." He was heavy, awkward, 
ungainly and loose-jointed, and enormously, prodigiously strong. 
He had a lumpish, thick -featured face, with lips heavy and loosely 
hanging, that gave him an air of stupidity, half droll, half pathetic. 
His little eyes were set far apart and flat with his face, his eyebrows 
were nearly white and his hair was of a sandy, colorless kind. He 
was singularly taciturn, lisping thickly when he did talk, and 
stuttering and hesitating in his speech, as though his words moved 
faster than his mind could follow. It was the custom for local 
wags to urge, or badger, or tempt him to talk, for the sake of the 
ready laugh that always followed the few thick, stammering words 
and the stupid drooping of the jaw at the end of each short speech. 
Perhaps Squire Hall was the only one in Lewes Hundred who mis- 
doubted that Hiram was half-witted. He had had dealings with 
him and was wont to say that whoever bought Hiram White for a 
fool made a fool's bargain. Certainly, whether he had common 
wits or no, Hiram had managed his mill to pretty good purpose 
and was fairly well off in the world as prosperity went in southern 
Delaware and in those days. No doubt, had it come to the pinch, 
he might have bought some of his tormentors out three times over. 
Hiram White had suffered quite a financial loss some six 
months before, through that very Blueskin who was now lurking 
in Indian River inlet. He had entered into a "venture" with 
Josiah Shippin, a Philadelphia merchant, to the tune of seven 
hundred pounds sterling. The money had been invested in a cargo 
of flour and corn meal which had been shipped to Jamaica by the 



Blueskin, the Pirate 

bark Nancy Lee. The Nancy Lee had been captured by the pirates 
off Currituck Sound, the crew set adrift in the longboat, and the 
bark herself and all her cargo burned to the water's edge. 

Five hundred of the seven hundred pounds invested in the 
unfortunate "venture" was money bequeathed by Hiram's father, 
seven years before, to Levi West. 

Eleazer White had been twice married, the second time to the 
widow West. She had brought with her to her new home a good- 
looking, long-legged, black-eyed, black-haired ne'er-do-well of a 
son, a year or so younger than Hiram. He was a shrewd, quick- 
witted lad, idle, shiftless, willful, ill-trained perhaps, but as bright 
and keen as a pin. He was the very opposite to poor, dull Hiram. 
Eleazer W T hite had never loved his son; he was ashamed of the 
poor, slack-witted oaf. Upon the other hand, he was very fond 
of Levi West, whom he always called "our Levi," and whom he 
treated in every way as though he were his own son. He tried to 
train the lad to work in the mill, and was patient beyond what 
the patience of most fathers would have been with his stepson's 
idleness and shiftlessness. "Never mind," he was used to say. 
"Levi '11 come all right. Levi's as bright as a button." 

It was one of the greatest blows of the old miller's life when 
Levi ran away to sea. In his last sickness the old man's mind 
constantly turned to his lost stepson. "Mebby he'll come back 
again," said he, "and if he does I want you to be good to him, 
Hiram. I've done my duty by you and have left you the house 
and mill, but I want you to promise that if Levi comes back 
again you'll give him a home and a shelter under this roof if 
he wants one." And Hiram had promised to do as his father 

After Eleazer died it was found that he had bequeathed five 
hundred pounds to his "beloved stepson, Levi West," and had 
left Squire Hall as trustee. 

Levi West had been gone nearly nine years and not a word 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

had been heard from him; there could be little or no doubt that 
he was dead. 

One day Hiram came into Squire Hall's office with a letter in 
his hand. It was the time of the old French war, and flour and 
corn meal were fetching fabulous prices in the British West Indies. 
The letter Hiram brought with him was from a Philadelphia mer- 
chant, Josiah Shippin, with whom he had had some dealings. 
Mr. Shippin proposed that Hiram should join him in sending a 
"venture" of flour and corn meal to Kingston, Jamaica. Hiram 
had slept upon the letter overnight and now he brought it to the 
old Squire. Squire Hall read the letter, shaking his head the 
while. "Too much risk, Hiram!" said he. "Mr Shippin wouldn't 
have asked you to go into this venture if he could have got anybody 
else to do so. My advice is that you let it alone. I reckon you've 
come to me for advice?" Hiram shook his head. "Ye haven't? 
What have ye come for, then?" 

"Seven hundred pounds," said Hiram. 

"Seven hundred pounds!" said Squire Hall. "I haven't got 
seven hundred pounds to lend you, Hiram." 

" Five hundred been left to Levi I got hundred raise hundred 
more on mortgage," said Hiram. 

"Tut, tut, Hiram," said Squire Hall, "that '11 never do in the 
world. Suppose Levi West should come back again, what then? 
I'm responsible for that money. If you wanted to borrow it now 
for any reasonable venture, you should have it and welcome, but 
for such a wildcat scheme 

"Levi never come back," said Hiram "nine years gone 
Levi's dead." 

"Mebby he is," said Squire Hall, "but we don't know that." 

"I'll give bond for security," said Hiram. 

Squire Hall thought for a while in silence. "Very well, Hiram," 
said he by and by, "if you'll do that. Your father left the money, 
and I don't see that it's right for me to stay his son from using it. 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

But if it is lost, Hiram, and if Levi should come back, it will go 
well to ruin ye." 

So Hiram White invested seven hundred pounds in the Jamaica 
venture and every farthing of it was burned by Blueskin, off 
Currituck Sound. 


Sally Martin was said to be the prettiest girl in Lewes Hundred, 
and when the rumor began to leak out that Hiram White was 
courting her the whole community took it as a monstrous joke. 
It was the common thing to greet Hiram himself with, "Hey, 
Hiram; how's Sally?" Hiram never made answer to such salu- 
tation, but went his way as heavily, as impassively, as dully 
as ever. 

The joke was true. Twice a week, rain or shine, Hiram White 
never failed to scrape his feet upon Billy Martin's doorstep. Twice 
a week, on Sundays and Thursdays, he never failed to take his 
customary seat by the kitchen fire. He rarely said anything by 
way of talk; he nodded to the farmer, to his wife, to Sally and, 
when he chanced to be at home, to her brother, but he ventured 
nothing further. There he would sit from half past seven until 
nine o'clock, stolid, heavy, impassive, his dull eyes following now 
one of the family and now another, but always coming back again 
to Sally. It sometimes happened that she had other company 
some of the young men of the neighborhood. The presence of such 
seemed to make no difference to Hiram; he bore whatever broad 
jokes might be cracked upon him, whatever grins, whatever 
giggling might follow those jokes, with the same patient impassive- 
ness. There he would sit, silent, unresponsive; then, at the first 
stroke of nine o'clock, he would rise, shoulder his ungainly person 
into his overcoat, twist his head into his three-cornered hat, and 
with a "Good night, Sally, I be going now," would take his de- 
parture, shutting the door carefully to behind him. 
11 [157] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

Never, perhaps, was there a girl in the world had such a lover 
and such a courtship as Sally Martin. 

It was one Thursday evening in the latter part of November, 
about a week after Blueskin's appearance off the capes, and while 
the one subject of talk was of the pirates being in Indian River 
inlet. The air was still and wintry; a sudden cold snap had set 
in and skims of ice had formed over puddles in the road; the smoke 
from the chimneys rose straight in the quiet air and voices sounded 
loud, as they do in frosty weather. 

Hiram White sat by the dim light of a tallow dip, poring la- 
boriously over some account books. It was not quite seven o'clock, 
and he never started for Billy Martin's before that hour. As he 
ran his finger slowly and hesitatingly down the column of figures, 
he heard the kitchen door beyond open and shut, the noise of foot- 
steps crossing the floor and the scraping of a chair dragged forward 
to the hearth. Then came the sound of a basket of corncobs 
being emptied on the smoldering blaze and then the snapping and 
crackling of the reanimated fire. Hiram thought nothing of all 
this, excepting, in a dim sort of way, that it was Bob, the negro 
mill hand, or old black Dinah, the housekeeper, and so went on 
with his calculations. 

At last he closed the books with a snap and, smoothing down 
his hair, arose, took up the candle, and passed out of the room 
into the kitchen beyond. 

A man was sitting in front of the corncob fire that flamed and 
blazed in the great, gaping, sooty fireplace. A rough overcoat 
was flung over the chair behind him and his hands were spread 
out to the roaring warmth. At the sound of the lifted latch and 
of Hiram's entrance he turned his head, and when Hiram saw his 
face he stood suddenly still as though turned to stone. The face, 
marvelously altered and changed as it was, was the face of his 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

stepbrother, Levi West. He was not dead ; he had come home again. 
For a time not a sound broke the dead, unbroken silence excepting 
the crackling of the blaze in the fireplace and the sharp ticking of 
the tall clock in the corner. The one face, dull and stolid, with 
the light of the candle shining upward over its lumpy features, 
looked fixedly, immovably, stonily at the other, sharp, shrewd, 
cunning the red wavering light of the blaze shining upon the high 
cheek bones, cutting sharp on the nose and twinkling in the glassy 
turn of the black, ratlike eyes. Then suddenly that face cracked, 
broadened, spread to a grin. "I have come back again, Hi," said 
Levi, and at the sound of the words the speechless spell was broken. 

Hiram answered never a word, but he walked to the fireplace, 
set the candle down upon the dusty mantelshelf among the boxes 
and bottles, and, drawing forward a chair upon the other side of the 
hearth, sat down. 

His dull little eyes never moved from his stepbrother's face. 
There was no curiosity in his expression, no surprise, no wonder. 
The heavy under lip dropped a little farther open and there was 
more than usual of dull, expressionless stupidity upon the lumpish 
face; but that was all. 

As was said, the face upon which he looked was strangely, 
marvelously changed from what it had been when he had last 
seen it nine years before, and, though it was still the face of Levi 
West, it was a very different Levi West than the shiftless ne'er-do- 
well who had run away to sea in the Brazilian brig that long time 
ago. That Levi West had been a rough, careless, happy-go-lucky 
fellow; thoughtless and selfish, but with nothing essentially evil 
or sinister in his nature. The Levi W T est that now sat in a rush- 
bottom chair at the other side of the fireplace had that stamped 
upon his front that might be both evil and sinister. His swart 
complexion was tanned to an Indian copper. On one side of his 
face was a curious discoloration in the skin and a long, crooked, 
cruel scar that ran diagonally across forehead and temple and 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

cheek in a white, jagged seam. This discoloration was of a 
livid blue, about the tint of a tattoo mark. It made a patch the 
size of a man's hand, lying across the cheek and the side of the 
neck. Hiram could not keep his eyes from this mark and the 
white scar cutting across it. 

There was an odd sort of incongruity in Levi's dress; a pair 
of heavy gold earrings and a dirty red handkerchief knotted loosely 
around his neck, beneath an open collar, displaying to its full length 
the lean, sinewy throat with its bony "Adam's apple," gave to 
his costume somewhat the smack of a sailor. He wore a coat 
that had once been of fine plum color now stained and faded 
too small for his lean length, and furbished with tarnished lace. 
Dirty cambric cuffs hung at his wrists and on his fingers were half 
a dozen and more rings, set with stones that shone, and glistened, 
and twinkled in the light of the fire. The hair at either temple was 
twisted into a Spanish curl, plastered flat to the cheek, and a plaited 
queue hung halfway down his back. 

Hiram, speaking never a word, sat motionless, his dull little 
eyes traveling slowly up and down and around and around his 
stepbrother's person. 

Levi did not seem to notice his scrutiny, leaning forward, 
now with his palms spread out to the grateful warmth, now rubbing 
them slowly together. But at last he suddenly whirled his chair 
around, rasping on the floor, and faced his stepbrother. He thrust 
his hand into his capacious coat pocket and brought out a pipe 
which he proceeded to fill from a skin of tobacco. "Well, Hi," 
said he, "d'ye see I've come back home again?" 

"Thought you was dead," said Hiram, dully. 

Levi laughed, then he drew a red-hot coal out of the fire, put it 
upon the bowl of the pipe and began puffing out clouds of pungent 
smoke. "Nay, nay," said he; "not dead not dead by odds. 
But [puff] by the Eternal Holy, Hi, I played many a close game 
[puff] with old Davy Jones, for all that." 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

Hiram's look turned inquiringly toward the jagged scar and 
Levi caught the slow glance. "You're lookin' at this," said he, 
running his finger down the crooked seam. "That looks bad, but 
it wasn't so close as this" laying his hand for a moment upon the 
livid stain. ."A cooly devil off Singapore gave me that cut when 
we fell foul of an opium junk in the China Sea four years ago last 
September. This," touching the disfiguring blue patch again, 
"was a closer miss, Hi. A Spanish captain fired a pistol at me 
down off Santa Catharina. He was so nigh that the powder went 

under the skin and it '11 never come out again. his eyes he 

had better have fired the pistol into his own head that morning. 
But never mind that. I reckon I'm changed, ain't I, Hi?" 

He took his pipe out of his mouth and looked inquiringly at 
Hiram, who nodded. 

Levi laughed. "Devil doubt it," said he, "but whether I'm 
changed or no, I'll take my aflBdavy that you are the same old half- 
witted Hi that you used to be. I remember dad used to say that 
you hadn't no more than enough wits to keep you out of the rain. 
And, talking of dad, Hi, I hearn tell he's been dead now these nine 
years gone. D'ye know what I've come home for?" 

Hiram shook his head. 

"I've come for that five hundred pounds that dad left me 
when he died, for I hearn tell of that, too." 

Hiram sat quite still for a second or two and then he said, 
"I put that money out to venture and lost it all." 

Levi's face fell and he took his pipe out of his mouth, regarding 
Hiram sharply and keenly. "What d'ye mean?" said he presently. 

"I thought you was dead and I put seven hundred pounds 
into Nancy Lee and Blueskin burned her off Currituck." 

"Burned her off Currituck!" repeated Levi. Then suddenly a 
light seemed to break upon his comprehension. "Burned by 
Blueskin!" he repeated, and thereupon flung himself back in his 
chair and burst into a short, boisterous fit of laughter. "Well, by 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

the Holy Eternal, Hi, if that isn't a piece of your tarnal luck. 
Burned by Blueskin, was it?" He paused for a moment, as though 
turning it over in his mind. Then he laughed again. "All the 
same," said he presently, "d'ye see, I can't suffer for Blueskin's 
doings. The money was willed to me, fair and true, and you 
have got to pay it, Hiram White, burn or sink, Blueskin or no 
Blueskin." Again he puffed for a moment or two in reflective 
silence. "All the same, Hi," said he, once more resuming the 
thread of talk, "I don't reckon to be too hard on you. You be 
only half-witted, anyway, and I sha'n't be too hard on you. I 
give you a month to raise that money, and while you're doing it 
I'll jest hang around here. I've been in trouble, Hi, d'ye see. 
I'm under a cloud and so I want to keep here, as quiet as may be. 
I'll tell ye how it came about: I had a set-to with a land pirate in 
Philadelphia, and somebody got hurt. That's the reason I'm here 
now, and don't you say anything about it. Do you understand?" 

Hiram opened his lips as though it was his intent to answer, 
then seemed to think better of it and contented himself by nodding 
his head. 

That Thursday night was the first for a six-month that Hiram 
White did not scrape his feet clean at Billy Martin's doorstep. 


Within a week Levi West had pretty well established himself 
among his old friends and acquaintances, though upon a different 
footing from that of nine years before, for this was a very different 
Levi from that other. Nevertheless, he was none the less popular 
in the barroom of the tavern and at the country store, where he 
was always the center of a group of loungers. His nine years seemed 
to have been crowded full of the wildest of wild adventures and 
happenings, as well by land as by sea, and, given an appreciative 
audience, he would reel off his yarns by the hour, in a reckless, 
devil-may-care fashion that set agape even old sea dogs who had 


Colonel Rhett and the Pirate 

Illustration from 

by Woodrow Wilson 

Originally published in 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

sailed the western ocean since boyhood. Then he seemed always 
to have plenty of money, and he loved to spend it at the tavern tap- 
room, with a lavishness that was at once the wonder and admiration 
of gossips. 

At that time, as was said, Blueskin was the one engrossing topic 
of talk, and it added not a little to Levi's prestige when it was 
found that he had actually often seen that bloody, devilish pirate 
with his own eyes. A great, heavy, burly fellow, Levi said he was, 
with a beard as black as a hat a devil with his sword and pistol 
afloat, but not so black as he was painted when ashore. He told of 
many adventures in which Blueskin figured and was then always 
listened to with more than usual gaping interest. 

As for Blueskin, the quiet way in which the pirates conducted 
themselves at Indian River almost made the Lewes folk forget 
what he could do when the occasion called. They almost ceased 
to remember that poor shattered schooner that had crawled with 
its ghastly dead and groaning wounded into the harbor a couple 
of weeks since. But if for a while they forgot who or what 
Blueskin was, it was not for long. 

One day a bark from Bristol, bound for Cuba and laden 
with a valuable cargo of cloth stuffs and silks, put into Lewes 
harbor to take in water. The captain himself came ashore and was 
at the tavern for two or three hours. It happened that Levi was 
there and that the talk was of Blueskin. The English captain, a 
grizzled old sea dog, listened to Levi's yarns with not a little con- 
tempt. He had, he said, sailed in the China Sea and the Indian 
Ocean too long to be afraid of any hog-eating Yankee pirate such 
as this Blueskin. A junk full of coolies armed with stink-pots 
was something to speak of, but who ever heard of the likes of 
Blueskin falling afoul of anything more than a Spanish canoe or a 
Yankee coaster? 

Levi grinned. "All the same, my hearty," said he, "if I was 
you I'd give Blueskin a wide berth. I hear that he's cleaned the 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

vessel that was careened awhile ago, and mebby he'll give you a 
little trouble if you come too nigh him." 

To this the Englishman only answered that Blueskin might 

be , and that the next afternoon, wind and weather permitting, 

he intended to heave anchor and run out to sea. 

Levi laughed again. "I wish I might be here to see what '11 
happen," said he, "but I'm going up the river to-night to see a 
gal and mebby won't be back again for three or four days." 

The next afternoon the English bark set sail as the captain 
promised, and that night Lewes town was awake until almost 
morning, gazing at a broad red glare that lighted up the sky away 
toward the southeast. Two days afterward a negro oysterman 
came up from Indian River with news that the pirates were lying 
off the inlet, bringing ashore bales of goods from their larger vessel 
and piling the same upon the beach under tarpaulins. He said 
that it was known down at Indian River that Blueskin had fallen 
afoul of an English bark, had burned her and had murdered the 
captain and all but three of the crew, who had joined with the 

The excitement over this terrible happening had only begun 
to subside when another occurred to cap it. One afternoon a 
ship's boat, in which were five men and two women, came rowing 
into Lewes harbor. It was the longboat of the Charleston packet, 
bound for New York, and was commanded by the first mate. The 
packet had been attacked and captured by the pirates about ten 
leagues south by east of Cape Henlopen. The pirates had come 
aboard of them at night and no resistance had been offered. Perhaps 
it was that circumstance that saved the lives of all, for no murder 
or violence had been done. Nevertheless, officers, passengers and 
crew had been stripped of everything of value and set adrift in 
the boats and the ship herself had been burned. The longboat 
had become separated from the others during the night and had 
sighted Henlopen a little after sunrise. 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

It may be here said that Squire Hall made out a report of 
these two occurrences and sent it up to Philadelphia by the mate 
of the packet. But for some reason it was nearly four weeks before 
a sloop of war was sent around from New York. In the mean- 
while, the pirates had disposed of the booty stored under the 
tarpaulins on the beach at Indian River inlet, shipping some of 
it away in two small sloops and sending the rest by wagons some- 
where up the country. 


Levi had told the English captain that he was going up- 
country to visit one of his lady friends. He was gone nearly two 
weeks. Then once more he appeared, as suddenly, as unexpectedly, 
as he had done when he first returned to Lewes. Hiram was sitting 
at supper when the door opened and Levi walked in, hanging 
up his hat behind the door as unconcernedly as though he had 
only been gone an hour. He was in an ugly, lowering humor and 
sat himself down at the table without uttering a word, resting 
his chin upon his clenched fist and glowering fixedly at the corn 
cake while Dinah fetched him a plate and knife and fork. 

His coming seemed to have taken away all of Hiram's appe- 
tite. He pushed away his plate and sat staring at his step- 
brother, who presently fell to at the bacon and eggs like a famished 
wolf. Not a word was said until Levi had ended his meal and 
filled his pipe. "Look'ee, Hiram," said he, as he stooped over the 
fire and raked out a hot coal. "Look'ee, Hiram! I've been to 
Philadelphia, d'ye see, a-settlin' up that trouble I told you about 
when I first come home. D'ye understand? D'ye remember? 
D'ye get it through your skull?" He looked around over his 
shoulder, waiting as though for an answer. But getting none, he 
continued: "I expect two gentlemen here from Philadelphia 
to-night. They're friends of mine and are coming to talk over 
the business and ye needn't stay at home, Hi. You can go out 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

somewhere, d'ye understand?" And then he added with a grin, 
"Ye can go to see Sally." 

Hiram pushed back his chair and arose. He leaned with his 
back against the side of the fireplace. "I'll stay at home," said 
he presently. 

"But I don't want you to stay at home, Hi," said Levi. "We'll 
have to talk business and I want you to go!" 

"I'll stay at home," said Hiram again. 

Levi's brow grew as black as thunder. He ground his teeth 
together and for a moment or two it seemed as though an explosion 
was coming. But he swallowed his passion with a gulp. "You're 

a pig-headed, half-witted fool," said he. Hiram never so much 

as moved his eyes. "As for you," said Levi, whirling round upon 
Dinah, who was clearing the table, and glowering balefully upon 
the old negress, "you put them things down and git out of here. 
Don't you come nigh this kitchen again till I tell ye to. If I catch 

you pryin' around may I be , eyes and liver, if I don't cut your 

heart out." 

In about half an hour Levi's friends came; the first a little, 
thin, wizened man with a very foreign look. He was dressed in a 
rusty black suit and wore gray yarn stockings and shoes with 
brass buckles. The other was also plainly a foreigner. He was 
dressed in sailor fashion, with petticoat breeches of duck, a heavy 
pea-jacket, and thick boots, reaching to the knees. He wore a 
red sash tied around his waist, and once, as he pushed back his 
coat, Hiram saw the glitter of a pistol butt. He was a powerful, 
thickset man, low-browed and bull-necked, his cheek, and chin, 
and throat closely covered with a stubble of blue-black beard. 
He wore a red kerchief tied around his head and over it a cocked 
hat, edged with tarnished gilt braid. 

Levi himself opened the door to them. He exchanged a few 
words outside with his visitors, in a foreign language of which 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

Hiram understood nothing. Neither of the two strangers spoke a 
word to Hiram: the little man shot him a sharp look out of the 
corners of his eyes and the burly ruffian scowled blackly at him, 
but beyond that neither vouchsafed him any regard. 

Levi drew to the shutters, shot the bolt in the outer door, and 
tilted a chair against the latch of the one that led from the kitchen 
into the adjoining room. Then the three worthies seated them- 
selves at the table which Dinah had half cleared of the supper 
china, and were presently deeply engrossed over a packet of papers 
which the big, burly man had brought with him in the pocket of 
his pea-jacket. The confabulation was conducted throughout in 
the same foreign language which Levi had used when first speaking 
to them a language quite unintelligible to Hiram's ears. Now 
and then the murmur of talk would rise loud and harsh over some 
disputed point; now and then it would sink away to whispers. 

Twice the tall clock in the corner whirred and sharply struck 
the hour, but throughout the whole long consultation Hiram stood 
silent, motionless as a stock, his eyes fixed almost unwinkingly 
upon the three heads grouped close together around the dim, 
flickering light of the candle and the papers scattered upon the 

Suddenly the talk came to an end, the three heads separated 
and the three chairs were pushed back, grating harshly. Levi rose, 
went to the closet and brought thence a bottle of Hiram's apple 
brandy, as coolly as though it belonged to himself. He set three 
tumblers and a crock of water upon the table and each helped 
himself liberally. 

As the two visitors departed down the road, Levi stood for 
a while at the open door, looking after the dusky figures until 
they were swallowed in the darkness. Then he turned, came in, 
shut the door, shuddered, took a final dose of the apple brandy 
and went to bed, without, since his first suppressed explosion, 
having said a single word to Hiram. 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

Hiram, left alone, stood for a while, silent, motionless as ever, 
then he looked slowly about him, gave a shake of the shoulders as 
though to arouse himself, and taking the candle, left the room, 
shutting the door noiselessly behind him. 


This time of Levi West's unwelcome visitation was indeed a 
time of bitter trouble and tribulation to poor Hiram White. 
Money was of very different value in those days than it is now, 
and five hundred pounds was in its way a good round lump) in 
Sussex County it was almost a fortune. It was a desperate struggle 
for Hiram to raise the amount of his father's bequest to his step- 
brother. Squire Hall, as may have been gathered, had a very 
warm and friendly feeling for Hiram, believing in him when all 
others disbelieved; nevertheless, in the matter of money the old 
man was as hard and as cold as adamant. He would, he said, 
do all he could to help Hiram, but that five hundred pounds must 
and should be raised Hiram must release his security bond. 
He would loan him, he said, three hundred pounds, taking a 
mortgage upon the mill. He would have lent him four hundred 
but that there was already a first mortgage of one hundred pounds 
upon it, and he would not dare to put more than three hundred 
more atop of that. 

Hiram had a considerable quantity of wheat which he had 
bought upon speculation and which was then lying idle in a Phila- 
delphia storehouse. This he had sold at public sale and at a very 
great sacrifice; he realized barely one hundred pounds upon it. 
The financial horizon looked very black to him; nevertheless, 
Levi's five hundred pounds was raised, and paid into Squire 
Hall's hands, and Squire Hall released Hiram's bond. 

The business was finally closed on one cold, gray afternoon 
in the early part of December. As Hiram tore his bond across 
and then tore it across again and again, Squire Hall pushed back 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

the papers upon his desk and cocked his feet upon its slanting 
top. "Hiram," said he, abruptly, "Hiram, do you know that 
Levi West is forever hanging around Billy Martin's house, after 
that pretty daughter of his?" 

So long a space of silence followed the speech that the Squire 
began to think that Hiram might not have heard him. But Hiram 
had heard. "No," said he, "I didn't know it." 

"Well, he is," said Squire Hall. "It's the talk of the whole 
neighborhood. The talk's pretty bad, too. D'ye know that they 
say that she was away from home three days last week, nobody 
knew where? The fellow's turned her head with his sailor's yarns 
and his traveler's lies." 

Hiram said not a word, but he sat looking at the other in 
stolid silence. "That stepbrother of yours," continued the old 
Squire presently, "is a rascal he is a rascal, Hiram, and I mis- 
doubt he's something worse. I hear he's been seen in some queer 
places and with queer company of late." 

He stopped again, and still Hiram said nothing. "And look'ee, 
Hiram," the old man resumed, suddenly, "I do hear that you be 
courtin' the girl, too; is that so?" 

"Yes," said Hiram, "I'm courtin' her, too." 

"Tut! tut!" said the Squire, "that's a pity, Hiram. I'm 
afraid your cakes are dough." 

After he had left the Squire's office, Hiram stood for a while 
in the street, bareheaded, his hat in his hand, staring unwinkingly 
down at the ground at his feet, with stupidly drooping lips and 
lackluster eyes. Presently he raised his hand and began slowly 
smoothing down the sandy shock of hair upon his forehead. At 
last he aroused himself with a shake, looked dully up and down 
the street, and then, putting on his hat, turned and walked slowly 
and heavily away. 

The early dusk of the cloudy winter evening was settling 
fast, for the sky was leaden and threatening. At the outskirts of 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

the town Hiram stopped again and again stood for a while 
in brooding thought. Then, finally, he turned slowly, not the 
way that led homeward, but taking the road that led between 
the bare and withered fields and crooked fences toward Billy 

It would be hard to say just what it was that led Hiram to 
seek Billy Martin's house at that time of day whether it was 
fate or ill fortune. He could not have chosen a more opportune 
time to confirm his own undoing. What he saw was the very 
worst that his heart feared. 

Along the road, at a little distance from the house, was a 
mock -orange hedge, now bare, naked, leafless. As Hiram drew near 
he heard footsteps approaching and low voices. He drew back 
into the fence corner and there stood, half sheltered by the stark 
network of twigs. Two figures passed slowly along the gray of 
the roadway in the gloaming. One was his stepbrother, the other 
was Sally Martin. Levi's arm was around her, he was whispering 
into her ear, and her head rested upon his shoulder. 

Hiram stood as still, as breathless, as cold as ice. They 
stopped upon the side of the road just beyond where he stood. 
Hiram's eyes never left them. There for some time they talked 
together in low voices, their words now and then reaching the ears 
of that silent, breathless listener. 

Suddenly there came the clattering of an opening door, and 
then Betty Martin's voice broke the silence, harshly, shrilly: 
"Sal! Sal! Sally Martin! You, Sally Martin! Come in yere. 
Where be ye?" 

The girl flung her arms around Levi's neck and their lips 
met in one quick kiss. The next moment she was gone, flying 
swiftly, silently, down the road past where Hiram stood, stooping 
as she ran. Levi stood looking after her until she was gone; then 
he turned and walked away whistling. 

His whistling died shrilly into silence hi the wintry distance, 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

and then at last Hiram came stumbling out from the hedge. His 
face had never looked before as it looked then. 


Hiram was standing in front of the fire with his hands clasped 
behind his back. He had not touched the supper on the table. 
Levi was eating with an appetite. Suddenly he looked over his 
plate at his stepbrother. 

"How about that five hundred pounds, Hiram?" said he. 
"I gave ye a month to raise it and the month ain't quite up 
yet, but I'm goin' to leave this here place day after to-morrow 
by next day at the furd'st and I want the money that's 


"I paid it to Squire Hall to-day and he has it fer ye," said 
Hiram, dully. 

Levi laid down his knife and fork with a clatter. "Squire 
Hall!" said he, "what's Squire Hall got to do with it? Squire 
Hall didn't have the use of that money. It was you had it and 

you have got to pay it back to me, and if you don't do it, by G , 

I'll have the law on you, sure as you're born." 

"Squire Hall's trustee I ain't your trustee," said Hiram, 
in the same dull voice. 

"I don't know nothing about trustees," said Levi, "or any- 
thing about lawyer business, either. What I want to know is, are 
you going to pay me my money or no?" 

"No," said Hiram, "I ain't Squire Hall '11 pay ye; you go 
to him." 

Levi West's face grew purple red. He pushed back, his chair 
grating harshly. "You bloody land pirate!" he said, grinding his 
teeth together. "I see through your tricks. You're up to cheating 
me out of my money. You know very well that Squire Hall is 

down on me, hard and bitter writin' his reports to Philadelphia 

and doing all he can to stir up everybody agin me and to bring 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

the bluejackets down on me. I see through your tricks as clear 
as glass, but ye sha'n't trick me. I'll have my money if there's 
law in the land ye bloody, unnatural thief ye, who'd go agin 
your dead father's will!" 

Then if the roof had fallen in upon him, Levi West could not 
have been more amazed Hiram suddenly strode forward, and, 
leaning half across the table with his fists clenched, fairly glared 
into Levi's eyes. His face, dull, stupid, wooden, was now fairly 
convulsed with passion. The great veins stood out upon his 
temples like knotted whipcords, and when he spoke his voice 
was more a breathless snarl than the voice of a Christian 

"Ye'll have the law, will ye?" said he. "Ye'll have the law, 
will ye? You're af eared to go to law Levi West you try th' 
law and see how ye like it. Who 're you to call me thief ye 
bloody, murderin' villain ye! You're the thief Levi West you 
come here and stole my daddy from me ye did. You make me 
ruin myself to pay what oughter to been mine then ye ye 
steal the gal I was courtin', to boot." He stopped and his lips 
writhed for words to say. "I know ye," said he, grinding his 
teeth. "I know ye! And only for what my daddy made me 
promise I'd a-had you up to the magistrate's before this." 

Then, pointing with quivering finger: 'There's the door 
you see it! Go out that there door and don't never come into 
it again if ye do or if ye ever come where I can lay eyes 
on ye again by th' Holy Holy I'll hale ye up to the Squire's 
office and tell all I know and all I've seen. Oh, I'll give ye 
your belly -fill of law if ye want th' law! Git out of the house, 
I say!" 

As Hiram spoke Levi seemed to shrink together. His face 
changed from its copper color to a dull, waxy yellow. When the 
other ended he answered never a word. But he pushed back his 
chair, rose, put on his hat and, with a furtive, sidelong look, left 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

the house, without stopping to finish the supper which he had 
begun. He never entered Hiram White's door again. 

Hiram had driven out the evil spirit from his home, but the 
mischief that it had brewed was done and could not be undone. 
The next day it was known that Sally Martin had run away from 
home, and that she had run away with Levi West. Old Billy 
Martin had been in town in the morning with his rifle, hunting 
for Levi and threatening if he caught him to have his life for lead- 
ing his daughter astray. 

And, as the evil spirit had left Hiram's house, so had another 
and a greater evil spirit quitted its harborage. It was heard from 
Indian River in a few days more that Blueskin had quitted the 
inlet and had sailed away to the southeast; and it was reported, 
by those who seemed to know, that he had finally quitted those 

It was well for himself that Blueskin left when he did, 
for not three days after he sailed away the Scorpion sloop-of-war 
dropped anchor in Lewes harbor. The New York agent of the 
unfortunate packet and a government commissioner had also come 
aboard the Scorpion. 

Without loss of time, the officer in command instituted a 
keen and searching examination that brought to light some singu- 
larly curious facts. It was found that a very friendly understand- 
ing must have existed for some time between the pirates and the 
people of Indian River, for, in the houses throughout that section, 
many things some of considerable value that had been taken 
by the pirates from the packet, were discovered and seized by the 
commissioner. Valuables of a suspicious nature had found their 
way even into the houses of Lewes itself. 

The whole neighborhood seemed to have become more or 
less tainted by the presence of the pirates. 
12 [ 173 ] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

Even poor Hiram White did not escape the suspicions of 
having had dealings with them. Of course the examiners were not 
slow in discovering that Levi West had been deeply concerned with 
Blueskin's doings. 

Old Dinah and black Bob were examined, and not only did 
the story of Levi's two visitors come to light, but also the fact that 
Hiram was present and with them while they were in the house 
disposing of the captured goods to their agent. 

Of all that he had endured, nothing seemed to cut poor Hiram 
so deeply and keenly as these unjust suspicions. They seemed to 
bring the last bitter pang, hardest of all to bear. 

Levi had taken from him his father's love; he had driven him, 
if not to ruin, at least perilously close to it. He had run away with 
the girl he loved, and now, through him, even Hiram's good name 
was gone. 

Neither did the suspicions against him remain passive; they 
became active. 

Goldsmiths' bills, to the amount of several thousand pounds, 
had been taken in the packet and Hiram was examined with an 
almost inquisitorial closeness and strictness as to whether he had 
or had not knowledge of their whereabouts. 

Under his accumulated misfortunes, he grew not only more 
dull, more taciturn, than ever, but gloomy, moody, brooding as 
well. For hours he would sit staring straight before him into the 
fire, without moving so much as a hair. 

One night it was a bitterly cold night in February, with three 
inches of dry and gritty snow upon the ground while Hiram sat 
thus brooding, there came, of a sudden, a soft tap upon the door. 

Low and hesitating as it was, Hiram started violently at the 
sound. He sat for a while, looking from right to left. Then 
suddenly pushing back his chair, he arose, strode to the door, and 
flung it wide open. 

It was Sally Martin. 


The Pirate's Christmas 

Originally published in 
HARPER'S WEEKLY, Christmas, 1893 

Blueskin, the Pirate 

Hiram stood for a while staring blankly at her. It was she 
who first spoke. "Won't you let me come in, Hi?" said she. "I'm 
nigh starved with the cold and I'm fit to die, I'm so hungry. For 
God's sake, let me come in." 

"Yes," said Hiram, "I'll let you come in, but why don't you 
go home?" 

The poor girl was shivering and chattering with the cold; 
now she began crying, wiping her eyes with the corner of a blanket 
in which her head and shoulders were wrapped. "I have been 
home, Hiram," she said, "but dad, he shut the door in my face. 
He cursed me just awful, Hi I wish I was dead!" 

"You better come in," said Hiram. "It's no good standing 
out there in the cold." He stood aside and the girl entered, swiftly, 

At Hiram's bidding black Dinah presently set some food 
before Sally and she fell to eating ravenously, almost ferociously. 
Meantime, while she ate, Hiram stood with his back to the fire, 
looking at her face that face once so round and rosy, now thin, 
pinched, haggard. 

"Are you sick, Sally?" said he presently. 

"No," said she, "but I've had pretty hard times since I left 
home, Hi." The tears sprang to her eyes at the recollection of her 
troubles, but she only wiped them hastily away with the back of 
her hand, without stopping in her eating. 

A long pause of dead silence followed. Dinah sat crouched 
together on a cricket at the other side of the hearth, listening with 
interest. Hiram did not seem to see her. "Did you go off with 
Levi?" said he at last, speaking abruptly. The girl looked up 
furtively under her brows. "You needn't be afeared to tell," he 

"Yes," said she at last, "I did go off with him, Hi." 

"Where've you been?" 

At the question, she suddenly laid down her knife and fork. 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

"Don't you ask me that, Hi," said she, agitatedly, "I can't tell you 
that. You don't know Levi, Hiram; I darsn't tell you anything 
he don't want me to. If I told you where I been he'd hunt me 
out, no matter where I was, and kill me. If you only knew what 
I know about him, Hiram, you wouldn't ask anything about him." 

Hiram stood looking broodingly at her for a long time; then 
at last he again spoke. "I thought a sight of you onc't, Sally," 
said he. 

Sally did not answer immediately, but, after a while, she 
suddenly looked up. "Hiram," said she, "if I tell ye something 
will you promise on your oath not to breathe a word to any living 
soul?" Hiram nodded. "Then I'll tell you, but if Levi finds 
I've told he'll murder me as sure as you're standin' there. Come 
nigher I've got to whisper it." He leaned forward close to her 
where she sat. She looked swiftly from right to left; then raising 
her lips she breathed into his ear: "I'm an honest woman, Hi. I 
was married to Levi West before I run away." 


The winter had passed, spring had passed, and summer had 
come. Whatever Hiram had felt, he had made no sign of suffering. 
Nevertheless, his lumpy face had begun to look flabby, his cheeks 
hollow, and his loose-jointed body shrunk more awkwardly to- 
gether into its clothes. He was often awake at night, sometimes 
walking up and down his room until far into the small hours. 

It was through such a wakeful spell as this that he entered 
into the greatest, the most terrible, happening of his life. 

It was a sulphurously hot night in July. The air was like 
the breath of a furnace, and it was a hard matter to sleep with 
even the easiest mind and under the most favorable circumstances. 
The full moon shone in through the open window, laying a white 
square of light upon the floor, and Hiram, as he paced up and down, 
up and down, walked directly through it, his gaunt figure starting 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

out at every turn into sudden brightness as lie entered the straight 
line of misty light. 

The clock in the kitchen whirred and rang out the hour of 
twelve, and Hiram stopped in his walk to count the strokes. 

The last vibration died away into silence, and still he stood 
motionless, now listening with a new and sudden intentness, for, 
even as the clock rang the last stroke, he heard soft, heavy foot- 
steps, moving slowly and cautiously along the pathway before 
the house and directly below the open window. A few seconds 
more and he heard the creaking of rusty hinges. The mysterious 
visitor had entered the mill. Hiram crept softly to the window 
and looked out. The moon shone full on the dusty, shingled face 
of the old mill, not thirty steps away, and he saw that the door 
was standing wide open. A second or two of stillness followed, 
and then, as he still stood looking intently, he saw the figure of a 
man suddenly appear, sharp and vivid, from the gaping blackness 
of the open doorway. Hiram could see his face as clear as day. 
It was Levi West, and he carried an empty meal bag over his 

Levi West stood looking from right to left for a second or two, 
and then he took off his hat and wiped his brow with the back of 
his hand. Then he softly closed the door behind him and left the 
mill as he had come, and with the same cautious step. Hiram 
looked down upon him as he passed close to the house and 
almost directly beneath. He could have touched him with his 

Fifty or sixty yards from the house Levi stopped and a second 
figure arose from the black shadow in the angle of the worm fence 
and joined him. They stood for a while talking together, Levi 
pointing now and then toward the mill. Then the two turned, 
and, climbing over the fence, cut across an open field and through 
the tall, shaggy grass toward the southeast. 

Hiram straightened himself and drew a deep breath, and the 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

moon, shining full upon his face, snowed it twisted, convulsed, 
as it had been when he had fronted his stepbrother seven months 
before in the kitchen. Great beads of sweat stood on his brow and 
he wiped them away with his sleeve. Then, coatless, hatless as 
he was, he swung himself out of the window, dropped upon the grass, 
and, without an instant of hesitation, strode off down the road 
in the direction that Levi West had taken. 

As he climbed the fence where the two men had climbed it he 
could see them in the pallid light, far away across the level, scrubby 
meadow land, walking toward a narrow strip of pine woods. 

A little later they entered the sharp-cut shadows beneath the 
trees and were swallowed in the darkness. 

With fixed eyes and close-shut lips, as doggedly, as inexorably 
as though he were a Nemesis hunting his enemy down, Hiram fol- 
lowed their footsteps across the stretch of moonlit open. Then, 
by and by, he also was in the shadow of the pines. Here, not a 
sound broke the midnight hush. His feet made no noise upon the 
resinous softness of the ground below. In that dead, pulseless 
silence he could distinctly hear the distant voices of Levi and his 
companion, sounding loud and resonant in the hollow of the 
woods. Beyond the woods was a cornfield, and presently he 
heard the rattling of the harsh leaves as the two plunged into 
the tasseled jungle. Here, as in the woods, he followed them, 
step by step, guided by the noise of their progress through the 

Beyond the cornfield ran a road that, skirting to the south 
of Lewes, led across a wooden bridge to the wide salt marshes 
that stretched between the town and the distant sand hills. Com- 
ing out upon this road Hiram found that he had gained upon those 
he followed, and that they now were not fifty paces away, and he 
could see that Levi's companion carried over his shoulder what 
looked like a bundle of tools. 

He waited for a little while to let them gain their distance 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

and for the second time wiped his forehead with his shirt sleeve; 
then, without ever once letting his eyes leave them, he climbed 
the fence to the roadway. 

For a couple of miles or more he followed the two along the 
white, level highway, past silent, sleeping houses, past barns, sheds, 
and haystacks, looming big in the moonlight, past fields, and 
woods, and clearings, past the dark and silent skirts of the town, 
and so, at last, out upon the wide, misty salt marshes, which seemed 
to stretch away interminably through the pallid light, yet were 
bounded in the far distance by the long, white line of sand hills. 

Across the level salt marshes he followed them, through the 
rank sedge and past the glassy pools in which his own inverted image 
stalked beneath as he stalked above; on and on, until at last they 
had reached a belt of scrub pines, gnarled and gray, that fringed 
the foot of the white sand hills. 

Here Hiram kept within the black network of shadow. The 
two whom he followed walked more in the open, with their shadows, 
as black as ink, walking along in the sand beside them, and now, 
in the dead, breathless stillness, might be heard, dull and heavy, 
the distant thumping, pounding roar of the Atlantic surf, beating 
on the beach at the other side of the sand hills, half a mile away. 

At last the two rounded the southern end of the white bluff, 
and when Hiram, following, rounded it also, they were no longer 
to be seen. 

Before him the sand hill rose, smooth and steep, cutting in a 
sharp ridge against the sky. Up this steep hill trailed the footsteps 
of those he followed, disappearing over the crest. Beyond the 
ridge lay a round, bowl-like hollow, perhaps fifty feet across and 
eighteen or twenty feet deep, scooped out by the eddying of the 
winds into an almost perfect circle. Hiram, slowly, cautiously, 
stealthily, following their trailing line of footmarks, mounted to the 
top of the hillock and peered down into the bowl beneath. The 
two men were sitting upon the sand, not far from the tall, skeleton- 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

like shaft of a dead pine tree that rose, stark and gray, from the 
sand in which it may once have been buried, centuries ago. 


Levi had taken off his coat and waistcoat and was fanning 
himself with his hat. He was sitting upon the bag he had brought 
from the mill and which he had spread out upon the sand. His 
companion sat facing him. The moon shone full upon him and 
Hiram knew him instantly he was the same burly, foreign-looking 
ruffian who had come with the little man to the mill that night to 
see Levi. He also had his hat off and was wiping his forehead 
and face with a red handkerchief. Beside him lay the bundle of 
tools he had brought a couple of shovels, a piece of rope, and a 
long, sharp iron rod. 

The two men were talking together, but Hiram could not 
understand what they said, for they spoke in the same foreign 
language that they had before used. But he could see his step- 
brother point with his finger, now to the dead tree and now to 
the steep, white face of the opposite side of the bowl-like hollow. 

At last, having apparently rested themselves, the conference, 
if conference it was, came to an end, and Levi led the way, the 
other following, to the dead pine tree. Here he stopped and began 
searching, as though for some mark; then, having found that 
which he looked for, he drew a tapeline and a large brass pocket 
compass from his pocket. He gave one end of the tape line to 
his companion, holding the other with his thumb pressed upon 
a particular part of the tree. Taking his bearings by the com- 
pass, he gave now and then some orders to the other, who moved 
a little to the left or the right as he bade. At last he gave 
a word of command, and, thereupon, his companion drew a 
wooden peg from his pocket and thrust it into the sand. From 
this peg as a base they again measured, taking bearings by the 
compass, and again drove a peg. For a third time they re- 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

peated their measurements and then, at last, seemed to have 
reached the point which they aimed for. 

Here Levi marked a cross with his heel upon the sand. 

His companion brought him the pointed iron rod which lay 
beside the shovels, and then stood watching as Levi thrust it deep 
into the sand, again and again, as though sounding for some object 
below. It was some while before he found that for which he was 
seeking, but at last the rod struck with a jar upon some hard object 
below. After making sure of success by one or two additional 
taps with the rod, Levi left it remaining where it stood, brushing 
the sand from his hands. "Now fetch the shovels, Pedro," said 
he, speaking for the first time in English. 

The two men were busy for a long while, shoveling away the 
sand. The object for which they were seeking lay buried some 
six feet deep, and the work was heavy and laborious, the shifting 
sand sliding back, again and again, into the hole. But at last 
the blade of one of the shovels struck upon some hard substance 
and Levi stooped and brushed away the sand with the palm of his 

Levi's companion climbed out of the hole which they had dug 
and tossed the rope which he had brought with the shovels down 
to the other. Levi made it fast to some object below and then 
himself mounted to the level of the sand above. Pulling together, 
the two drew up from the hole a heavy iron-bound box, nearly 
three feet long and a foot wide and deep. 

Levi's companion stooped and began untying the rope which 
had been lashed to a ring in the lid. 

What next happened happened suddenly, swiftly, terribly. 
Levi drew back a single step, and shot one quick, keen look to right 
and to left. He passed his hand rapidly behind his back, and the 
next moment Hiram saw the moonlight gleam upon the long, 
sharp, keen blade of a knife. Levi raised his arm. Then, just as 
the other arose from bending over the chest, he struck, and struck 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

again, two swift, powerful blows. Hiram saw the blade drive, clean 
and sharp, into the back, and heard the hilt strike with a dull thud 
against the ribs once, twice. The burly, black-bearded wretch 
gave a shrill, terrible cry and fell staggering back. Then, in an 
instant, with another cry, he was up and clutched Levi with a clutch 
of despair by the throat and by the arm. Then followed a struggle, 
short, terrible, silent. Not a sound was heard but the deep, pant- 
ing breath and the scuffling of feet in the sand, upon which there now 
poured and dabbled a dark-purple stream. But it was a one- 
sided struggle and lasted only for a second or two. Levi wrenched 
his arm loose from the wounded man's grasp, tearing his shirt sleeve 
from the wrist to the shoulder as he did so. Again and again the 
cruel knife was lifted, and again and again it fell, now no longer 
bright, but stained with red. 

Then, suddenly, all was over. Levi's companion dropped to 
the sand without a sound, like a bundle of rags. For a moment he 
lay limp and inert; then one shuddering spasm passed over him 
and he lay silent and still, with his face half buried in the sand. 

Levi, with the knife still gripped tight in his hand, stood 
leaning over his victim, looking down upon his body. His shirt 
and hand, and even his naked arm, were stained and blotched 
with blood. The moon lit up his face and it was the face of a 
devil from hell. 

At last he gave himself a shake, stooped and wiped his knife 
and hand and arm upon the loose petticoat breeches of the dead 
man. He thrust his knife back into its sheath, drew a key from his 
pocket and unlocked the chest. In the moonlight Hiram could see 
that it was filled mostly with paper and leather bags, full, apparently 
of money. 

Ah 1 through this awful struggle and its awful ending Hiram 
lay, dumb and motionless, upon the crest of the sand hill, looking 
with a horrid fascination upon the death struggle in the pit below. 
Now Hiram arose. The sand slid whispering down from the crest 


"He Lay Silent and Still, with His Face 
Half Buried in the Sand" 

Illustration from 

by Howard Pyle 

Originally published in 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

as he did so, but Levi was too intent in turning over the contents 
of the chest to notice the slight sound. 

Hiram's face was ghastly pale and drawn. For one mo- 
ment he opened his lips as though to speak, but no word came. 
So, white, silent, he stood for a few seconds, rather like a statue 
than a living man, then, suddenly, his eyes fell upon the bag, 
which Levi had brought with him, no doubt, to carry back the 
treasure for which he and his companion were in search, and which 
still lay spread out on the sand where it had been flung. Then, 
as though a thought had suddenly flashed upon him, his whole 
expression changed, his lips closed tightly together as though 
fearing an involuntary sound might escape, and the haggard look 
dissolved from his face. 

Cautiously, slowly, he stepped over the edge of the sand 
hill and down the slanting face. His coming was as silent as death, 
for his feet made no noise as he sank ankle-deep in the yielding 
surface. So, stealthily, step by step, he descended, reached the 
bag, lifted it silently. Levi, still bending over the chest and search- 
ing through the papers within, was not four feet away. Hiram 
raised the bag in his hands. He must have made some slight 
rustle as he did so, for suddenly Levi half turned his head. But 
he was one instant too late. In a flash the bag was over his head 
shoulders arms body. 

Then came another struggle, as fierce, as silent, as desperate 
as that other and as short. Wiry, tough, and strong as he was, 
with a lean, sinewy, nervous vigor, fighting desperately for his life 
as he was, Levi had no chance against the ponderous strength of his 
stepbrother. In any case, the struggle could not have lasted long; 
as it was, Levi stumbled backward over the body of his dead mate 
and fell, with Hiram upon him. Maybe he was stunned by the fall; 
maybe he felt the hopelessness of resistance, for he lay quite still 
while Hiram, kneeling upon him, drew the rope from the ring of 
the chest and, without uttering a word, bound it tightly around 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

both the bag and the captive within, knotting it again and again 
and drawing it tight. Only once was a word spoken. "If you'll 
lemme go," said a muffled voice from the bag, "I'll give you five 
thousand pounds it's in that there box." Hiram answered never 
a word, but continued knotting the rope and drawing it tight. 


The Scorpion sloop-of-war lay in Lewes harbor all that winter 
and spring, probably upon the slim chance of a return of the pirates. 
It was about eight o'clock in the morning and Lieutenant Maynard 
was sitting in Squire Hall's office, fanning himself with his hat and 
talking in a desultory fashion. Suddenly the dim and distant noise 
of a great crowd was heard from without, coming nearer and 
nearer. The Squire and his visitor hurried to the door. The crowd 
was coming down the street shouting, jostling, struggling, some 
on the footway, some in the roadway. Heads were at the doors 
and windows, looking down upon them. Nearer they came, and 
nearer; then at last they could see that the press surrounded and 
accompanied one man. It was Hiram White, hatless, coatless, the 
sweat running down his face in streams, but stolid and silent as ever. 
Over his shoulder he carried a bag, tied round and round with a rope. 
It was not until the crowd and the man it surrounded had come 
quite near that the Squire and the lieutenant saw that a pair of 
legs in gray-yarn stockings hung from the bag. It was a man he 
was carrying. 

Hiram had lugged his burden five miles that morning without 
help and with scarcely a rest on the way. 

He came directly toward the Squire's office and, still sur- 
rounded and hustled by the crowd, up the steep steps to the office 
within. He flung his burden heavily upon the floor without a word 
and wiped his streaming forehead. 

The Squire stood with his knuckles on his desk, staring first at 
Hiram and then at the strange burden he had brought. A sudden 


Blueskin, the Pirate 

hush fell upon all, though the voices of those without sounded as 
loud and turbulent as ever. "What is it, Hiram?" said Squire 
Hall at last. 

Then for the first time Hiram spoke, panting thickly. "It's 
a bloody murderer," said he, pointing a quivering finger at the 
motionless figure. 

"Here, some of you!" called out the Squire. "Come! Untie 
this man ! Who is he? " A dozen willing fingers quickly unknotted 
the rope and the bag was slipped from the head and body. 

Hair and face and eyebrows and clothes were powdered with 
meal, but, in spite of all and through all the innocent whiteness, 
dark spots and blotches and smears of blood showed upon head 
and arm and shirt. Levi raised himself upon his elbow and looked 
scowlingly around at the amazed, wonderstruck faces surrounding 

"Why, it's Levi West!" croaked the Squire, at last finding his 

Then, suddenly, Lieutenant Maynard pushed forward, before 
the others crowded around the figure on the floor, and, clutching 
Levi by the hair, dragged his head backward so as to better see his 
face. "Levi West!" said he in a loud voice. "Is this the Levi 
West you've been telling me of? Look at that scar and the mark 
on his cheek! This is Blueskin himself." 


In the chest which Blueskin had dug up out of the sand were 
found not only the goldsmiths' bills taken from the packet, but also 
many other valuables belonging to the officers and the passengers 
of the unfortunate ship. 

The New York agents offered Hiram a handsome reward for 
his efforts in recovering the lost bills, but Hiram declined it, posi- 
tively and finally. "All I want," said he, in his usual dull, stolid 
fashion, "is to have folks know I'm honest." Nevertheless, 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

though he did not accept what the agents of the packet offered, 
fate took the matter into its own hands and rewarded him not 
unsubstantially. Blueskin was taken to England in the Scorpion. 
But he never came to trial. While in Newgate he hanged himself 
to the cell window with his own stockings. The news of his end 
was brought to Lewes in the early autumn and Squire Hall took 
immediate measures to have the five hundred pounds of his father's 
legacy duly transferred to Hiram. 

In November Hiram married the pirate's widow. 

"There Cap'n Goldsack goes, creeping, creeping, 

Looking for his treasure down below!" 

Illustration from 

by William Sharp 

Originally pubiisht:<t ui 




The author of this narrative cannot recall that, in any history of the 
famous pirates, he has ever read a detailed and sufficient account of the 
life and death of Capt. John Scarfield. Doubtless some data concerning 
his death and the destruction of his schooner might be gathered from the 
report of Lieutenant Mainwaring, now filed in the archives of the Navy 
Department, but beyond such bald and bloodless narrative the author knows 
of nothing, unless it be the little chap-book history published by Isaiah Thomas 
in Newburyport about the year 1821-22, entitled, "A True History of the 
Life and Death of Captain Jack Scarfield," This lack of particularity in 
the history of one so notable in his profession it is the design of the present 
narrative in a measure to supply, and, if the author has seen fit to cast it in 
the form of a fictional story, it is only that it may make more easy reading 
for those who see fit to follow the tale from this to its conclusion. 




LEAZER COOPER, or Captain Cooper, as was his 
better-known title in Philadelphia, was a prominent 
member of the Society of Friends. He was an over- 
seer of the meeting and an occasional speaker upon 
particular occasions. When at home from one of 
his many voyages he never failed to occupy his seat in the meeting 
both on First Day and Fifth Day, and he was regarded by his 
fellow townsmen as a model of business integrity and of domestic 

More incidental to this history, however, it is to be narrated 
that Captain Cooper was one of those trading skippers who carried 
their own merchandise in their own vessels which they sailed them- 
selves, and on whose decks they did their own bartering. His 
vessel was a swift, large schooner, the Eliza Cooper, of Philadelphia, 
named for his wife. His cruising grounds were the West India 
Islands, and his merchandise was flour and corn meal ground at the 
Brandywine Mills at Wilmington, Delaware. 

During the War of 1812 he had earned, as was very well known, 
an extraordinary fortune in this trading; for flour and corn meal 
sold at fabulous prices in the French, Spanish, Dutch, and Danish 
islands, cut off, as they were, from the rest of the world by the 
British blockade. 

The running of this blockade was one of the most hazardous 
maritime ventures possible, but Captain Cooper had met with 
such unvaried success, and had sold his merchandise at such in- 


Captain Scarfield 

credible profit that, at tne end of the war, he found himself to 
have become one of the wealthiest merchants of his native city. 

It was known at one time that his balance in the Mechanics' 
Bank was greater than that of any other individual depositor upon 
the books, and it was told of him that he had once deposited in the 
bank a chest of foreign silver coin, the exchanged value of which, 
when translated into American currency, was upward of forty-two 
thousand dollars a prodigious sum of money in those days. 

In person, Captain Cooper was tall and angular of frame. His 
face was thin and severe, wearing continually an unsmiling, mask- 
like expression of continent and unruffled sobriety. His manner 
was dry and taciturn, and his conduct and life were measured to 
the most absolute accord with the teachings of his religious belief. 

He lived in an old-fashioned house on Front Street below Spruce 
as pleasant, cheerful a house as ever a trading captain could 
return to. At the back of the house a lawn sloped steeply down 
toward the river. To the south stood the wharf and storehouses; 
to the north an orchard and kitchen garden bloomed with abundant 
verdure. Two large chestnut trees sheltered the porch and the little 
space of lawn, and when you sat under them in the shade you 
looked down the slope between two rows of box bushes directly 
across the shining river to the Jersey shore. 

At the time of our story that is, about the year 1820 this 
property had increased very greatly in value, but it was the old 
home of the Coopers, as Eleazer Cooper was entirely rich enough 
to indulge his fancy in such matters. Accordingly, as he chose to 
live in the same house where his father and his grandfather had 
dwelt before him, he peremptorily, if quietly, refused all offers 
looking toward the purchase of the lot of ground though it was 
now worth five or six times its former value. 

As was said, it was a cheerful, pleasant home, impressing you 
when you entered it with the feeling of spotless and all-pervading 
cleanliness a cleanliness that greeted you in the shining brass door- 
is [189] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

knocker; that entertained you in the sitting room with its stiff, 
leather-covered furniture, the brass-headed tacks whereof spark- 
led like so many stars a cleanliness that bade you farewell 
in the spotless stretch of sand-sprinkled hallway, the wooden floor 
of which was worn into knobs around the nail heads by the countless 
scourings and scrubbings to which it had been subjected and which 
left behind them an all-pervading faint, fragrant odor of soap and 
warm water. 

Eleazer Cooper and his wife were childless, but one inmate 
made the great, silent, shady house bright with life. Lucinda 
Fairbanks, a niece of Captain Cooper's by his only sister, was a 
handsome, sprightly girl of eighteen or twenty, and a great favorite 
in the Quaker society of the city. 

It remains only to introduce the final and, perhaps, the most 
important actor of the narrative Lieut. James Mainwaring. 
During the past twelve months or so he had been a frequent visitor 
at the Cooper house. At this time he was a broad-shouldered, red- 
cheeked, stalwart fellow of twenty-six or twenty-eight. He was a 
great social favorite, and possessed the added romantic interest of 
having been aboard the Constitution when she fought the Guerriere, 
and of having, with his own hands, touched the match that fired 
the first gun of that great battle. 

Mainwaring's mother and Eliza Cooper had always been 
intimate friends, and the coming and going of the young man dur- 
ing his leave of absence were looked upon in the house as quite a 
matter of course. Half a dozen times a week he would drop in 
to execute some little commission for the ladies, or, if Captain 
Cooper was at home, to smoke a pipe of tobacco with him, to 
sip a dram of his famous old Jamaica rum, or to play a rubber of 
checkers of an evening. It is not likely that either of the older 
people was the least aware of the real cause of his visits; still less 
did they suspect that any passages of sentiment had passed between 
the young people. 


"He Had Found the Captain Agreeable and 
Companionable " 

Illustration from 

by Thomas A. Janvier 

Originally published in 
HABPEB'S -MAGAZINE. -November, 1894 

Captain Scarfield 

The truth was that Mainwaring and the young lady were 
very deeply in love. It was a love that they were obliged to 
keep a profound secret, for not only had Eleazer Cooper held the 
strictest sort of testimony against the late war a testimony so 
rigorous as to render it altogether unlikely that one of so military 
a profession as Mainwaring practiced could hope for his consent 
to a suit for marriage, but Lucinda could not have married one not 
a member of the Society of Friends without losing her own birth- 
right membership therein. She herself might not attach much 
weight to such a loss of membership in the Society, but her fear of, 
and her respect for, her uncle led her to walk very closely in her 
path of duty in this respect. Accordingly she and Mainwaring 
met as they could clandestinely and the stolen moments were 
very sweet. With equal secrecy Lucinda had, at the request of her 
lover, sat for a miniature portrait to Mrs. Gregory, which miniature, 
set in a gold medallion, Mainwaring, with a mild, sentimental 
pleasure, wore hung around his neck and beneath his shirt frill 
next his heart. 

In the month of April of the year 1820 Mam waring received 
orders to report at Washington. During the preceding autumn 
the West India pirates, and notably Capt. Jack Scarfield, had been 
more than usually active, and the loss of the packet Marblehead 
(which, sailing from Charleston, South Carolina, was never heard 
of more) was attributed to them. Two other coasting vessels off 
the coast of Georgia had been looted and burned by Scarfield, and 
the government had at last aroused itself to the necessity of active 
measures for repressing these pests of the West India waters. 

Mainwaring received orders to take command of the Yankee, 
a swift, light-draught, heavily armed brig of war, and to cruise 
about the Bahama Islands and to capture and destroy all the 
pirates' vessels he could there discover. 

On his way from Washington to New York, where the Yankee 
was then waiting orders, Mainwaring stopped in Philadelphia to 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

bid good-by to his many friends in that city. He called at the 
old Cooper house. It was on a Sunday afternoon. The spring 
was early and the weather extremely pleasant that day, being 
filled with a warmth almost as of summer. The apple trees were 
already in full bloom and filled all the air with their fragrance. 
Everywhere there seemed to be the pervading hum of bees, and the 
drowsy, tepid sunshine was very delightful. 

At that time Eleazer was just home from an unusually successful 
voyage to Antigua. Mainwaring found the family sitting under 
one of the still leafless chestnut trees, Captain Cooper smoking his 
long clay pipe and lazily perusing a copy of the National Gazette. 
Eleazer listened with a great deal of interest to what Mainwaring 
had to say of his proposed cruise. He himself knew a great deal 
about the pirates, and, singularly unbending from his normal, stiff 
taciturnity, he began telling of what he knew, particularly of 
Captain Scarfield in whom he appeared to take an extraordinary 

Vastly to Mainwaring's surprise, the old Quaker assumed the 
position of a defendant of the pirates, protesting that the wickedness 
of the accused was enormously exaggerated. He declared that he 
knew some of the freebooters very well and that at the most they 
were poor, misdirected wretches who had, by easy gradation, slid 
into their present evil ways, from having been tempted by the 
government authorities to enter into privateering in the days of the 
late war. He conceded that Captain Scarfield had done many 
cruel and wicked deeds, but he averred that he had also performed 
many kind and benevolent actions. The world made no note of 
these latter, but took care only to condemn the evil that had been 
done. He acknowledged that it was true that the pirate had allowed 
his crew to cast lots for the wife and the daughter of the skipper of 
the Northern Rose, but there were none of his accusers who told how, 
at the risk of his own life and the lives of all his crew, he had given 
succor to the schooner Halifax, found adrift with all hands down 


Captain Scarfield 

with yellow fever. There was no defender of his actions to tell how 
he and his crew of pirates had sailed the pest-stricken vessel almost 
into the rescuing waters of Kingston harbor. Eleazer confessed 
that he could not deny that when Scarfield had tied the skipper of 
the Baltimore Belle naked to the foremast of his own brig he had 
permitted his crew of cutthroats (who were drunk at the time) 
to throw bottles at the helpless captive, who died that night of the 
wounds he had received. For this he was doubtless very justly 
condemned, but who was there to praise him when he had, at the 
risk of his life and in the face of the authorities, carried a cargo 
of provisions which he himself had purchased at Tampa Bay to 
the Island of Bella Vista after the great hurricane of 1818? In 
this notable adventure he had barely escaped, after a two days' 
chase, the British frigate Ceres, whose captain, had a capture been 
effected, would instantly have hung the unfortunate man to the 
yardarm in spite of the beneficent mission he was in the act of 

In all this Eleazer had the air of conducting the case for the 
defendant. As he talked he became more and more animated and 
voluble. The light went out in his tobacco pipe, and a hectic spot 
appeared in either thin and sallow cheek. Mainwaring sat won- 
dering to hear the severely peaceful Quaker preacher defending so 
notoriously bloody and cruel a cutthroat pirate as Capt. Jack 
Scarfield. The warm and innocent surroundings, the old brick 
house looking down upon them, the odor of apple blossoms and the 
hum of bees seemed to make it all the more incongruous. And 
still the elderly Quaker skipper talked on and on with hardly an 
interruption, till the warm sun slanted to the west and the day 
began to decline. 

That evening Mainwaring stayed to tea and when he parted 
from Lucinda Fairbanks it was after nightfall, with a clear, round 
moon shining in the milky sky and a radiance pallid and unreal 
enveloping the old house, the blooming apple trees, the sloping 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

lawn and the shining river beyond. He implored his sweetheart 
to let him tell her uncle and aunt of their acknowledged love and 
to ask the old man's consent to it, but she would not permit him 
to do so. They were so happy as they were. Who knew but 
what her uncle might forbid their fondness? Would he not wait 
a little longer? Maybe it would all come right after a while. 
She was so fond, so tender, so tearful at the nearness of their 
parting that he had not the heart to insist. At the same time 
it was with a feeling almost of despair that he realized that he 
must now be gone maybe for the space of two years without 
in all that time possessing the right to call her his before the 

When he bade farewell to the older people it was with a 
choking feeling of bitter disappointment. He yet felt the pres- 
sure of her cheek against his shoulder, the touch of soft and 
velvet lips to his own. But what were such clandestine en- 
dearments compared to what might, perchance, be his the 
right of calling her his own when he was far away and upon the 
distant sea? And, besides, he felt like a coward who had shirked 
his duty. 

But he was very much in love. The next morning appeared 
in a drizzle of rain that followed the beautiful warmth of the day 
before. He had the coach all to himself, and in the damp and 
leathery solitude he drew out the little oval picture from beneath 
his shirt frill and looked long and fixedly with a fond and foolish 
joy at the innocent face, the blue eyes, the red, smiling lips depicted 
upon the satinlike, ivory surface. 


For the better part of five months Mainwaring cruised about 
in the waters surrounding the Bahama Islands. In that time he 
ran to earth and dispersed a dozen nests of pirates. He destroyed 
no less than fifteen piratical crafts of all sizes, from a large half- 


Captain Scarfield 

decked whaleboat to a three-hundred-ton barkentine. The name 
of the Yankee became a terror to every sea wolf in the western 
tropics, and the waters of the Bahama Islands became swept almost 
clean of the bloody wretches who had so lately infested it. 

But the one freebooter of all others whom he sought Capt. 
Jack Scarfield seemed to evade him like a shadow, to slip through 
his fingers like magic. Twice he came almost within touch of the 
famous marauder, both times in the ominous wrecks that the pirate 
captain had left behind him. The first of these was the water- 
logged remains of a burned and still smoking wreck that he found 
adrift in the great Bahama channel. It was the Water Witch, of 
Salem, but he did not learn her tragic story until, two weeks later, 
he discovered a part of her crew at Port Maria, on the north coast 
of Jamaica. It was, indeed, a dreadful story to which he listened. 
The castaways said that they of all the vessel's crew had been 
spared so that they might tell the commander of the Yankee, 
should they meet him, that he might keep what he found, with 
Captain Scarfield's compliments, who served it up to him hot 

Three weeks later he rescued what remained of the crew of the 
shattered, bloody hulk of the Baltimore Belle, eight of whose crew, 
headed by the captain, had been tied hand and foot and heaved 
overboard. Again, there was a message from Captain Scarfield 
to the commander of the Yankee that he might season what he 
found to suit his own taste. 

Mainwaring was of a sanguine disposition, with fiery temper. 
He swore, with the utmost vehemence, that either he or John 
Scarfield would have to leave the earth. 

He had little suspicion of how soon was to befall the ominous 
realization of his angry prophecy. 

At that time one of the chief rendezvous of the pirates was the 
little island of San Jose, one of the southernmost of the Bahama group. 
Here, in the days before the coming of the Yankee, they were wont 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

to put in to careen and clean their vessels and to take in a fresh 
supply of provisions, gunpowder, and rum, preparatory to renewing 
their attacks upon the peaceful commerce circulating up and down 
outside the islands, or through the wide stretches of the Bahama 

Mainwaring had made several descents upon this nest of free- 
booters. He had already made two notable captures, and it was 
here he hoped eventually to capture Captain Scarfield himself. 

A brief description of this one-time notorious rendezvous of 
freebooters might not be out of place. It consisted of a little 
settlement of those wattled and mud-smeared houses such as you 
find through the West Indies. There were only three houses of 
a more pretentious sort, built of wood. One of these was a store- 
house, another was a rum shop, and a third a house in which dwelt a 
mulatto woman, who was reputed to be a sort of left-handed wife 
of Captain Scarfield's. The population was almost entirely black 
and brown. One or two Jews and a half dozen Yankee traders, 
of hardly dubious honesty, comprised the entire white population. 
The rest consisted of a mongrel accumulation of negroes and mulat- 
toes and half-caste Spaniards, and of a multitude of black or yellow 
women and children. The settlement stood in a bight of the 
beach forming a small harbor and affording a fair anchorage for 
small vessels, excepting it were against the beating of a southeasterly 
gale. The houses, or cabins, were surrounded by clusters of coco 
palms and growths of bananas, and a long curve of white beach, 
sheltered from the large Atlantic breakers that burst and exploded 
upon an outer bar, was drawn like a necklace around the semi- 
circle of emerald-green water. 

Such was the famous pirates' settlement of San Jose a para- 
dise of nature and a hell of human depravity and wickedness and 
it was to this spot that Mainwaring paid another visit a few days 
after rescuing the crew of the Baltimore Belle from her shattered and 
sinking wreck. 



Captain Scarfield 

As the little bay with its fringe of palms and its cluster of wattle 
huts opened up to view, Mainwaring discovered a vessel lying at 
anchor in the little harbor. It was a large and well-rigged schooner 
of two hundred and fifty or three hundred tons burden. As the 
Yankee rounded to under the stern of the stranger and dropped 
anchor in such a position as to bring her broadside battery to bear 
should the occasion require, Mainwaring set his glass to his eye to 
read the name he could distinguish beneath the overhang of her 
stern. It is impossible to describe his infinite surprise when, the 
white lettering starting out in the circle of the glass, he read, The 
Eliza Cooper, of Philadelphia. 

He could not believe the evidence of his senses. Certainly 
this sink of iniquity was the last place in the world he would have 
expected to have fallen in with Eleazer Cooper. 

He ordered out the gig and had himself immediately rowed 
over to the schooner. Whatever lingering doubts he might have 
entertained as to the identity of the vessel were quickly dispelled 
when he beheld Captain Cooper himself standing at the gangway 
to meet him. The impassive face of the friend showed neither 
surprise nor confusion at what must have been to him a most 
unexpected encounter. 

But when he stepped upon the deck of the Eliza Cooper and 
looked about him, Mainwaring could hardly believe the evidence 
of his senses at the transformation that he beheld. Upon the 
main deck were eight twelve-pound carronade neatly covered with 
tarpaulin; in the bow a Long Tom, also snugly stowed away 
and covered, directed a veiled and muzzled snout out over the 

It was entirely impossible for Mainwaring to conceal his 
astonishment at so unexpected a sight, and whether or not his 
own thoughts lent color to his imagination, it seemed to him that 
Eleazer Cooper concealed under the immobility of his countenance 
no small degree of confusion. 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

After Captain Cooper had led the way into the cabin and 
he and the younger man were seated over a pipe of tobacco and 
the invariable bottle of fine old Jamaica rum, Mainwaring made no 
attempt to refrain from questioning him as to the reason for this 
singular and ominous transformation. 

"I am a man of peace, James Mainwaring," Eleazer replied, 
"but there are men of blood in these waters, and an appearance 
of great strength is of use to protect the innocent from the 
wicked. If I remained in appearance the peaceful trader I 
really am, how long does thee suppose I could remain unassailed 
in this place?" 

It occurred to Mainwaring that the powerful armament he 
had beheld was rather extreme to be used merely as a preventive. 
He smoked for a while in silence and then he suddenly asked the 
other point-blank whether, if it came to blows with such a one as 
Captain Scarfield, would he make a fight of it? 

The Quaker trading captain regarded him for a while in silence. 
His look, it seemed to Mainwaring, appeared to be dubitative as 
to how far he dared to be frank. "Friend James," he said at last, 
"I may as well acknowledge that my officers and crew are somewhat 
worldly. Of a truth they do not hold the same testimony as I. I 
am inclined to think that if it came to the point of a broil with 
those men of iniquity, my individual voice cast for peace would 
not be sufficient to keep my crew from meeting violence with 
violence. As for myself, thee knows who I am and what is my 
testimony in these matters." 

Mainwaring made no comment as to the extremely questionable 
manner in which the Quaker proposed to beat the devil about the 
stump. Presently he asked his second question: 

"And might I inquire," he said, "what you are doing here 
and why you find it necessary to come at all into such a wicked, 
dangerous place as this?" 

"Indeed, I knew thee would ask that question of me," said the 


Captain Scarfield 

Friend, "and I will be entirely frank with thee. These men of 
blood are, after all, but human beings, and as human beings they 
need food. I have at present upon this vessel upward of two hun- 
dred and fifty barrels of flour which will bring a higher price here 
than anywhere else in the West Indies. To be entirely frank with 
thee, I will tell thee that I was engaged in making a bargain for the 
sale of the greater part of my merchandise when the news of thy 
approach drove away my best customer." 

Mainwaring sat for a while in smoking silence. What the other 
had told him explained many things he had not before understood. 
It explained why Captain Cooper got almost as much for his flour 
and corn meal now that peace had been declared as he had obtained 
when the war and the blockade were in full swing. It explained 
why he had been so strong a defender of Captain Scarfield and the 
pirates that afternoon in the garden. Meantime, what was to be 
done? Eleazer confessed openly that he dealt with the pirates. 
What now was his Mainwaring' s duty in the case? Was the 
cargo of the Eliza Cooper contraband and subject to confiscation? 
And then another question framed itself in his mind: Who was this 
customer whom his approach had driven away? 

As though he had formulated the inquiry into speech the other 
began directly to speak of it. "I know," he said, "that in a mo- 
ment thee will ask me who was this customer of whom I have just 
now spoken. I have no desire to conceal his name from thee. 
It was the man who is known as Captain Jack or Captain John 

Mainwaring fairly started from his seat. " The devil you say ! " 
he cried. "And how long has it been," he asked, "since he left 

The Quaker skipper carefully refilled his pipe, which he had 
by now smoked out. "I would judge," he said, "that it is a matter 
of four or five hours since news was brought overland by means 
of swift runners of thy approach. Immediately the man of wicked- 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

ness disappeared." Here Eleazer set the bowl of his pipe to the 
candle flame and began puffing out voluminous clouds of smoke. 
"I would have thee understand, James Mainwaring," he resumed, 
"that I am no friend of this wicked and sinful man. His safety 
is nothing to me. It is only a question of buying upon his part 
and of selling upon mine. If it is any satisfaction to thee I will 
heartily promise to bring thee news if I hear anything of the man 
of Belial. I may furthermore say that I think it is likely thee will 
have news more or less directly of him within the space of a day. 
If this should happen, however, thee will have to do thy own 
fighting without help from me, for I am no man of combat nor of 
blood and will take no hand in it either way." 

It struck Mainwaring that the words contained some meaning 
that did not appear upon the surface. This significance struck him 
as so ambiguous that when he went aboard the Yankee he confided 
as much of his suspicions as he saw fit to his second in command, 
Lieutenant Underwood. As night descended he had a double 
watch set and had everything prepared to repel any attack or 
surprise that might be attempted. 


Nighttime in the tropics descends with a surprising rapidity. 
At one moment the earth is shining with the brightness of the 
twilight; the next, as it were, all things are suddenly swallowed 
into a gulf of darkness. The particular night of which this story 
treats was not entirely clear; the time of year was about the ap- 
proach of the rainy season, and the tepid, tropical clouds added 
obscurity to the darkness of the sky, so that the night fell with 
even more startling quickness than usual. The blackness was 
very dense. Now and then a group of drifting stars swam out of a 
rift in the vapors, but the night was curiously silent and of a velvety 

As the obscurity had deepened, Mainwaring had ordered 



Captain Scarfield 

lanthorns to be lighted and slung to the shrouds and to the stays, 
and the faint yellow of their illumination lighted the level white of 
the snug little war vessel, gleaming here and there in a starlike spark 
upon the brass trimmings and causing the rows of cannons to as- 
sume curiously gigantic proportions. 

For some reason Mainwaring was possessed by a strange, 
uneasy feeling. He walked restlessly up and down the deck for a 
time, and then, still full of anxieties for he knew not what, went 
into his cabin to finish writing up his log for the day. He un- 
strapped his cutlass and laid it upon the table, lighted his pipe at 
the lanthorn and was .about preparing to lay aside his coat when 
word was brought to him that the captain of the trading schooner 
was come alongside and had some private information to commu- 
nicate to him. 

Mainwaring surmised in an instant that the trader's visit re- 
lated somehow to news of Captain Scarfield, and as immediately, 
in the relief of something positive to face, all of his feeling of restless- 
ness vanished like a shadow of mist. He gave orders that Captain 
Cooper should be immediately shown into the cabin, and in a few 
moments the tall, angular form of the Quaker skipper appeared in 
the narrow, lanthorn-lighted space. 

Mainwaring at once saw that his visitor was strangely agitated 
and disturbed. He had taken off his hat, and shining beads of 
perspiration had gathered and stood clustered upon his forehead. 
He did not reply to Mainwaring's greeting; he did not, indeed, 
seem to hear it; but he came directly forward to the table and 
stood leaning with one hand upon the open log book in which the 
lieutenant had just been writing. Mainwaring had reseated him- 
self at the head of the table, and the tall figure of the skipper 
stood looking down at him as from a considerable height. 

"James Mainwaring," he said, "I promised thee to report if 
I had news of the pirate. Is thee ready now to hear my news?" 

There was something so strange in his agitation that it began 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

to infect Mainwaring with a feeling somewhat akin to that which 
appeared to disturb his visitor. "I know not what you mean, 
sir!" he cried, "by asking if I care to hear your news. At this 
moment I would rather have news of that scoundrel than to have 
anything I know of in the world." 

"Thou would? Thou would?" cried the other, with mounting 
agitation. "Is thee in such haste to meet him as all that? Very 
well; very well, then. Suppose I could bring thee face to face with 
him what then? Hey? Hey? Face to face with him, James 

The thought instantly flashed into Mainwaring's mind that 
the pirate had returned to the island; that perhaps at that moment 
he was somewhere near at hand. 

"I do not understand you, sir," he cried. "Do you mean to 
tell me that you know where the villain is? If so, lose no time in 
informing me, for every instant of delay may mean his chance of 
again escaping." 

"No danger of that!" the other declared, vehemently. "No 
danger of that! I'll tell thee where he is and I'll bring thee to him 
quick enough!" And as he spoke he thumped his fist against 
the open log book. In the vehemence of his growing excitement 
his eyes appeared to shine green in the lanthorn light, and the 
sweat that had stood in beads upon his forehead was now running 
in streams down his face. One drop hung like a jewel to the tip 
of his beaklike nose. He came a step nearer to Mainwaring and 
bent forward toward him, and there was something so strange 
and ominous in his bearing that the lieutenant instinctively drew 
back a little where he sat. 

"Captain Scarfield sent something to you," said Eleazer, 
almost in a raucous voice, "something that you will be surprised to 
see." And the lapse in his speech from the Quaker "thee" to 
the plural "you" struck Mainwaring as singularly strange. 

As he was speaking Eleazer was fumbling in a pocket of his 


Captain Scarfield 

long-tailed drab coat, and presently he brought something forth 
that gleamed in the lanthorn light. 

The next moment Mainwaring saw leveled directly in his face 
the round and hollow nozzle of a pistol. 

There was an instant of dead silence and then, " I am the man 
you seek!" said Eleazer Cooper, in a tense and breathless voice. 

The whole thing had happened so instantaneously and unex- 
pectedly that for the moment Mainwaring sat like one petrified. 
Had a thunderbolt fallen from the silent sky and burst at his feet 
he could not have been more stunned. He was like one held in 
the meshes of a horrid nightmare, and he gazed as through a mist 
of impossibility into the lineaments of the well-known, sober face 
now transformed as from within into the aspect of a devil. That 
face, now ashy white, was distorted into a diabolical grin. The 
teeth glistened in the lamplight. The brows, twisted into a tense 
and convulsed frown, were drawn down into black shadows, through 
which the eyes burned a baleful green like the eyes of a wild animal 
driven to bay. Again he spoke in the same breathless voice. "I 
am John Scarfield! Look at me, then, if you want to see a pirate!" 
Again there was a little time of silence, through which Mainwaring 
heard his watch ticking loudly from where it hung against the bulk- 
head. Then once more the other began speaking. "You would 

chase me out of the West Indies, would you? G you! 

What are you come to now? You are caught in your own trap, 
and you'll squeal loud enough before you get out of it. Speak a 
word or make a movement and I'll blow your brains out against the 
partition behind you! Listen to what I say or you are a dead man. 
Sing out an order instantly for my mate and my bos'n to come 
here to the cabin, and be quick about it, for my finger's on the 
trigger, and it's only a pull to shut your mouth forever." 

It was astonishing to Mainwaring, in afterward thinking 
about it ah 1 , how quickly his mind began to recover its steadiness 
after that first astonishing shock. Even as the other was speaking 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

he discovered that his brain was becoming clarified to a wonderful 
lucidity; his thoughts were becoming rearranged, and with a 
marvelous activity and an alertness he had never before experienced. 
He knew that if he moved to escape or uttered any outcry he 
would be instantly a dead man, for the circle of the pistol barrel 
was directed full against his forehead and with the steadiness of a 
rock. If he could but for an instant divert that fixed and deadly 
attention he might still have a chance for life. With the thought 
an inspiration burst into his mind and he instantly put it into 
execution; thought, inspiration, and action, as in a flash, were one. 
He must make the other turn aside his deadly gaze, and instantly 
he roared out in a voice that stunned his own ears: "Strike, bos'n! 
Strike, quick!" 

Taken by surprise, and thinking, doubtless, that another 
enemy stood behind him, the pirate swung around like a flash 
with his pistol leveled against the blank boarding. Equally upon 
the instant he saw the trick that had been played upon him and 
in a second flash had turned again. The turn and return had 
occupied but a moment of time, but that moment, thanks to the 
readiness of his own invention, had undoubtedly saved Mainwaring's 
afe. As the other turned away his gaze for that brief instant 
Mainwaring leaped forward and upon him. There was a flashing 
flame of fire as the pistol was discharged and a deafening detonation 
that seemed to split his brain. For a moment, with reeling senses, 
he supposed himself to have been shot, the next he knew he had 
escaped. With the energy of despair he swung his enemy around 
and drove him with prodigious violence against the corner of the 
table. The pirate emitted a grunting cry and then they fell together, 
Mainwaring upon the top, and the pistol clattered with them to the 
floor in their fall. Even as he fell, Mainwaring roared in a voice 
of thunder, "All hands repel boarders!" And then again, "All 
hands repel boarders!" 

Whether hurt by the table edge or not, the fallen pirate strug- 


Captain Scarfield 

gled as though possessed of forty devils, and in a moment or two 
Mainwaring saw the shine of a long, keen knife that he had drawn 
from somewhere about his person. The lieutenant caught him 
by the wrist, but the other's muscles were as though made of steel. 
They both fought in despairing silence, the one to carry out his 
frustrated purposes to kill, the other to save his life. Again and 
again Mainwaring felt that the knife had been thrust against him, 
piercing once his arm, once his shoulder, and again his neck. He 
felt the warm blood streaming down his arm and body and looked 
about him in despair. The pistol lay near upon the deck of the 
cabin. Still holding the other by the wrist as he could, Mainwaring 
snatched up the empty weapon and struck once and again at 
the bald, narrow forehead beneath him. A third blow he delivered 
with all the force he could command, and then with a violent 
and convulsive throe the straining muscles beneath him relaxed 
and grew limp and the fight was won. 

Through all the struggle he had been aware of the shouts of 
voices, of trampling of feet and discharge of firearms, and the 
thought came to him, even through his own danger, that the 
Yankee was being assaulted by the pirates. As he felt the struggling 
form beneath him loosen and dissolve into quietude, he leaped up, 
and snatching his cutlass, which still lay upon the table, rushed 
out upon the deck, leaving the stricken form lying twitching upon 
the floor behind him. 

It was a fortunate thing that he had set double watches and 
prepared himself for some attack from the pirates, otherwise the 
Yankee would certainly have been lost. As it was, the surprise 
was so overwhelming that the pirates, who had been concealed in 
the large whaleboat that had come alongside, were not only able 
to gain a foothold upon the deck, but for a time it seemed as though 
they would drive the crew of the brig below the hatches. 

But as Mainwaring, streaming with blood, rushed out upon 
the deck, the pirates became immediately aware that their own 
14 [ 205 ] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

captain must have been overpowered, and in an instant their 
desperate energy began to evaporate. One or two jumped over- 
board; one, who seemed to be the mate, fell dead from a pistol 
shot, and then, in the turn of a hand, there was a rush of a retreat 
and a vision of leaping forms in the dusky light of the lanthorns 
and a sound of splashing in the water below. 

The crew of the Yankee continued firing at the phosphorescent 
wakes of the swimming bodies, but whether with effect it was 
impossible at the time to tell. 


The pirate captain did not die immediately. He lingered for 
three or four days, now and then unconscious, now and then semi- 
conscious, but always deliriously wandering. All the while he 
thus lay dying, the mulatto woman, with whom he lived in this 
part of his extraordinary dual existence, nursed and cared for him 
with such rude attentions as the surroundings afforded. In the 
wanderings of his mind the same duality of life followed him. Now 
and then he would appear the calm, sober, self-contained, well- 
ordered member of a peaceful society that his friends in his far- 
away home knew him to be; at other times the nether part of his 
nature would leap up into life like a wild beast, furious and gnashing. 
At the one time he talked evenly and clearly of peaceful things; 
at the other time he blasphemed and hooted with fury. 

Several times Mainwaring, though racked by his own wounds, 
sat beside the dying man through the silent watches of the tropical 
nights. Oftentimes upon these occasions as he looked at the thin, 
lean face babbling and talking so aimlessly, he wondered what it all 
meant. Could it have been madness madness in which the sep- 
arate entities of good and bad each had, in its turn, a perfect and 
distinct existence? He chose to think that this was the case. Who, 
within his inner consciousness, does not feel that same ferine, 
savage man struggling against the stern, adamantine bonds of 



"He Struck Once and Again at the Bald, 
Narrow Forehead Beneath Him" 

Illustration from 

Lit Howard Pyle 

Originally published in 


Captain Scarfield 

morality and decorum? Were those bonds burst asunder, as it 
was with this man, might not the wild beast rush forth, as it had 
rushed forth in him, to rend and to tear? Such were the questions 
that Mainwaring asked himself. And how had it all come about? 
By what easy gradations had the respectable Quaker skipper de- 
scended from the decorum of his home life, step by step, into 
such a gulf of iniquity? Many such thoughts passed through 
Mainwaring's mind, and he pondered them through the still reaches 
of the tropical nights while he sat watching the pirate captain 
struggle out of the world he had so long burdened. At last the 
poor wretch died, and the earth was well quit of one of its torments. 

A systematic search was made through the island for the scat- 
tered crew, but none was captured. Either there were some secret 
hiding places upon the island (which was not very likely) or else 
they had escaped in boats hidden somewhere among the tropical 
foliage. At any rate they were gone. 

Nor, search as he would, could Mainwaring find a trace of 
any of the pirate treasure. After the pirate's death and under 
close questioning, the weeping mulatto woman so far broke down 
as to confess in broken English that Captain Scarfield had taken 
a quantity of silver money aboard his vessel, but either she was 
mistaken or else the pirates had taken it thence again and had 
hidden it somewhere else. 

Nor would the treasure ever have been found but for a most 
fortuitous accident. 

Mainwaring had given orders that the Eliza Cooper was to be 
burned, and a party was detailed to carry the order into execution. 
At this the cook of the Yankee came petitioning for some of the 
Wilmington and Brandywine flour to make some plum duff upon 
the morrow, and Mainwaring granted his request in so far that 
he ordered one of the men to knock open one of the barrels of 
flour and to supply the cook's demands. 

The crew detailed to execute this modest order in connection 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

with the destruction of the pirate vessel had not been gone a 
quarter of an hour when word came back that the hidden treasure 
had been found. 

Mainwaring hurried aboard the Eliza Cooper, and there in the 
midst of the open flour barrel he beheld a great quantity of silver 
coin buried in and partly covered by the white meal. A systematic 
search was now made. One by one the flour barrels were heaved 
up from below and burst open on the deck and their contents 
searched, and if nothing but the meal was found it was swept over- 
board. The breeze was whitened with clouds of flour, and the 
white meal covered the surface of the ocean for yards around. 

In all, upward of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars was 
found concealed beneath the innocent flour and meal. It was no 
wonder the pirate captain was so successful, when he could upon 
an instant's notice transform himself from a wolf of the ocean to 
a peaceful Quaker trader selling flour to the hungry towns and 
settlements among the scattered islands of the West Indies, and 
so carrying his bloody treasure safely into his quiet Northern 

In concluding this part of the narrative it may be added that 
a wide strip of canvas painted black was discovered in the hold of 
the Eliza Cooper. Upon it, in great white letters, was painted the 
name, "The Bloodhound." Undoubtedly this was used upon 
occasions to cover the real and peaceful title of the trading schooner, 
just as its captain had, in reverse, covered his sanguine and cruel 
life by a thin sheet of morality and respectability. 

This is the true story of the death of Capt. Jack Scarfield. 

The Newburyport chap-book, of which I have already spoken, 
speaks only of how the pirate disguised himself upon the ocean as 
a Quaker trader. 

Nor is it likely that anyone ever identified Eleazer Cooper with 
the pirate, for only Mainwaring of all the crew of the Yankee was 
exactly aware of the true identity of Captain Scarfield. All that 


Captain Scarfield 

was ever known to the world was that Eleazer Cooper had been 
killed in a fight with the pirates. 

In a little less than a year Mainwaring was married to Lucinda 
Fairbanks. As to Eleazer Cooper's fortune, which eventually came 
into the possession of Mainwaring through his wife, it was many 
times a subject of speculation to the lieutenant how it had been 
earned. There were times when he felt well assured that a part 
of it at least was the fruit of piracy, but it was entirely impossible 
to guess how much more was the result of legitimate trading. 

For a little time it seemed to Mainwaring that he should give 
it all up, but this was at once so impracticable and so quixotic that 
he presently abandoned it, and in time his qualms and misdoubts 
faded away and he settled himself down to enjoy that which had 
come to him through his marriage. 

In time the Mainwarings removed to New York, and ultimately 
the fortune that the pirate Scarfield had left behind him was used 
in part to found the great shipping house of Mainwaring & Bigot, 
v/hose famous transatlantic packet ships were in their time the 
admiration of the whole world. 




VERY famous pirate of his day was Capt. Robert- 
son Keitt. 

Before embarking upon his later career of infamy, 
he was, in the beginning, very well known as a 
reputable merchant in the island of Jamaica. 
Thence entering, first of all, upon the business of the African trade, 
he presently, by regular degrees, became a pirate, and finally 
ended his career as one of the most renowned freebooters of history. 
The remarkable adventure through which he at once reached 
the pinnacle of success, and became in his profession the most 
famous figure of his day, was the capture of the Rajah of Kishmoor's 
great ship, The Sun of the East. In this vessel was the Rajah's 
favorite Queen, who, together with her attendants, was set upon a 
pilgrimage to Mecca. The court of this great Oriental potentate 
was, as may be readily supposed, fairly aglitter with gold and 
jewels, so that, what with such personal adornments that the Queen 
and her attendants had fetched with them, besides an ample 
treasury for the expenses of the expedition, an incredible prize of 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

gold and jewels rewarded the freebooters for their successful 

Among the precious stones taken in this great purchase was 
the splendid ruby of Kishmoor. This, as may be known to the 
reader, was one of the world's greatest gems, and was unique 
alike both for its prodigious size and the splendor of its color. 
This precious jewel the Rajah of Kishmoor had, upon a certain 
occasion, bestowed upon his Queen, and at the time of her capture 
she wore it as the centerpiece of a sort of coronet which encircled 
her forehead and brow. 

The seizure by the pirate of so considerable a person as that 
of the Queen of Kishmoor, and of the enormous treasure that he 
found aboard her ship, would alone have been sufficient to have 
established his fame. But the capture of so extraordinary a prize 
as that of the ruby which was, in itself, worth the value of an 
entire Oriental kingdom exalted him at once to the very highest 
pinnacle of renown. 

Having achieved the capture of this incredible prize, our 
captain scuttled the great ship and left her to sink with all on 
board. Three Lascars of the crew alone escaped to bear the news 
of this tremendous disaster to an astounded world. 

As may readily be supposed, it was now no longer possible for 
Captain Keitt to hope to live hi such comparative obscurity as he 
had before enjoyed. His was now too remarkable a figure in the 
eyes of the world. Several expeditions from various parts were 
immediately fitted out against him, and it presently became no 
longer compatible with his safety to remain thus clearly outlined 
before the eyes of the world. Accordingly, he immediately set 
about seeking such security as he might now hope to find, which 
he did the more readily since he had now, and at one cast, so en- 
tirely fulfilled his most sanguine expectations of good fortune and 
of fame. 

Thereafter, accordingly, the adventures of our captain became 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

of a more apocryphal sort. It was known that he reached the 
West Indies in safety, for he was once seen at Port Royal and 
twice at Spanish Town, in the island of Jamaica. Thereafter, how- 
ever, he disappeared; nor was it until several years later that the 
world heard anything concerning him. 

One day a certain Nicholas Duck worthy, who had once been 
gunner aboard the pirate captain's own ship, The Good Fortune, 
was arrested in the town of Bristol in the very act of attempting 
to sell to a merchant of that place several valuable gems from a 
quantity which he carried with him tied up in a red bandanna 

In the confession of which Duckworthy afterward delivered 
himself he declared that Captain Keitt, after his great adventure, 
having sailed from Africa in safety, and so reached the shores of 
the New World, had wrecked The Good Fortune on a coral reef off 
the Windward Islands; that he then immediately deserted the ship, 
and together with Duckworthy himself, the sailing master (who 
was a Portuguese), the captain of a brig, The Bloody Hand (a con- 
sort of Keitt's), and a villainous rascal named Hunt (who, occupying 
no precise position among the pirates, was at once the instigator 
of and the partaker in the greatest part of Captain Keitt's wicked- 
nesses), made his way to the nearest port of safety. These five 
worthies at last fetched the island of Jamaica, bringing with them 
all of the jewels and some of the gold that had been captured from 
The Sun of the East. 

But, upon coining to a division of their booty, it was presently 
discovered that the Rajah's ruby had mysteriously disappeared 
from the collection of jewels to be divided. The other pirates 
immediately suspected then* captain of having secretly purloined 
it, and, indeed, so certain were they of his turpitude that they 
immediately set about taking means to force a confession from him. 

In this, however, they were so far unsuccessful that the captain, 
refusing to yield to their importunities, had suffered himself to die 



The Ruby of Kishmoor 

under their hands, and had so carried the secret of the hiding place 
of the great ruby if he possessed such a secret along with him. 

Duckworthy concluded his confession by declaring that in his 
opinion he himself, the Portuguese sailing master, the captain of 
The Bloody Hand, and Hunt were the only ones of Captain Keitt's 
crew who were now alive; for that The Good Fortune must have 
broken up in a storm, which immediately followed their desertion 
of her; in which event the entire crew must inevitably have perished. 

It may be added that Duckworthy himself was shortly hanged, 
so that, if his surmise was true, there were now only three left alive 
of all that wicked crew that had successfully carried to its comple- 
tion the greatest adventure which any pirate in the world had 
ever, perhaps, embarked upon. 


Jonathan Rugg 

You may never know what romantic aspirations may lie 
hidden beneath the most sedate and sober demeanor. 

To have observed Jonathan Rugg, who was a tall, lean, loose- 
jointed young Quaker of a somewhat forbidding aspect, with 
straight, dark hair and a bony, overhanging forehead set into a 
frown, a pair of small, deep-set eyes, and a square jaw, no one 
would for a moment have suspected that he concealed beneath 
so serious an exterior any appetite for romantic adventure. 

Nevertheless, finding himself suddenly transported, as it were, 
from the quiet of so sober a town as that of Philadelphia to the 
tropical enchantment of Kingston, in the island of Jamaica, the 
night brilliant with a full moon that swung in an opal sky, the 
warm and luminous darkness replete with the mysteries of a 
tropical night, and burdened with the odors of a land breeze, he 
suddenly discovered himself to be overtaken with so vehement a 
desire for some unwonted excitement that, had the opportunity 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

presented itself, he felt himself ready to embrace any adventure 
with the utmost eagerness, no matter whither it would have con- 
ducted him. 

At home (where he was a clerk in the countinghouse of a leading 
merchant, by name Jeremiah Doolittle), should such idle fancies 
have come to him, he would have looked upon himself as little 
better than a fool, but now that he found himself for the first time 
in a foreign country, surrounded by such strange and unusual 
sights and sounds, all conducive to extravagant imaginations, the 
wish for some extraordinary and altogether unusual experience took 
possession of him with a singular vehemence to which he had 
heretofore been altogether a stranger. 

In the street where he stood, which was of a shining whiteness 
and which reflected the effulgence of the moonlight with an in- 
credible distinction, he observed, stretching before him, long lines 
of white garden walls, overtopped by a prodigious luxuriance of 
tropical foliage. 

In these gardens, and set close to the street, stood several 
pretentious villas and mansions, the slatted blinds and curtains 
of the windows of which were raised to admit of the freer entrance 
of the cool and balmy air of the night. From within there issued 
forth bright lights, together with the exhilarating sound of merry 
voices laughing and talking, or perhaps a song accompanied by the 
tinkling music of a spinet or of a guitar. An occasional group of 
figures, clad in light and summerlike garments, and adorned with 
gay and startling colors, passed him through the moonlight; so that 
what with the brightness and warmth of the night, together with 
all these unusual sights and sounds, it appeared to Jonathan Rugg 
that he was rather the inhabitant of some extraordinary land of 
enchantment and unreality than a dweller upon that sober and 
solid world in which he had heretofore passed his entire existence. 

Before continuing this narrative the reader may here be 
informed that our hero had come into this enchanted world as the 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

supercargo of the ship Susanna Hayes, of Philadelphia; that he 
had for several years proved himself so honest and industrious a 
servant to the merchant house of the worthy Jeremiah Doolittle 
that that benevolent man had given to his well-deserving clerk this 
opportunity at once of gratifying an inclination for foreign travel 
and of filling a position of trust that should redound to his individual 
profit. The Susanna Hayes had entered Kingston harbor that after- 
noon, and this was Jonathan's first night spent in those tropical 
latitudes, whither his fancy and his imagination had so often 
carried him while he stood over the desk filing the accounts of 
invoices from foreign parts. 

It might be finally added that, had he at all conceived how soon 
and to what a degree his sudden inclination for adventure was to 
be gratified, his romantic aspirations might have been somewhat 
dashed at the prospect that lay before him. 


The Mysterious Lady with the Silver Veil 

At that moment our hero suddenly became conscious of the 
fact that a small wicket in a wooden gate near which he stood had 
been opened, and that the eyes of an otherwise concealed counte- 
nance were observing him with the utmost closeness of scrutiny. 

He had hardly time to become aware of this observation of 
his person when the gate itself was opened, and there appeared 
before him, in the moonlight, the bent and crooked figure of an 
aged negress. She was clad in a calamanco raiment, and was 
further adorned with a variety of gaudily colored trimmings, vastly 
suggestive of the tropical world of which she was an inhabitant. 
Her woolly head was enveloped, after the fashion of her people, in 
the folds of a gigantic and flaming red turban constructed of an 
entire pocket handkerchief. Her face was pock-pitted to an in- 
credible degree, so that what with this deformity, emphasized by 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

the pouting of her prodigious and shapeless lips, and the rolling 
of a pair of eyes as yellow as saffron, Jonathan Rugg thought 
that he had never beheld a figure at once so extraordinary and 
so repulsive. 

It occurred to our hero that here, maybe, was to overtake him 
such an adventure as that which he had just a moment before 
been desiring so ardently. Nor was he mistaken; for the negress, 
first looking this way and then that, with an extremely wary and 
cunning expression, and apparently having satisfied herself that 
the street, for the moment, was pretty empty of passers, beckoned 
to him to draw nearer. When he had approached close enough to 
her she caught him by the sleeve, and, instantly drawing him into 
the garden beyond, shut and bolted the gate with a quickness and 
a silence suggestive of the most extravagant secrecy. 

At the same moment a huge negro suddenly appeared from 
the shadow of the gatepost, and so placed himself between Jonathan 
and the gate that any attempt to escape would inevitably have 
entailed a conflict, upon our hero's part, with the sable and giant 

Says the negress, looking very intently at our hero, "Be you 
af eared, Buckra?" 

"Why, no," quoth Jonathan; "for to tell thee the truth, 
friend, though I am a man of peace, being of that religious order 
known as the Society of Friends, I am not so weak in person nor so 
timid in disposition as to warrant me in being afraid of anyone. 
Indeed, were I of a mind to escape, I might, without boasting, 
declare my belief that I should be able to push my way past even 
a better man than thy large friend who stands so threateningly in 
front of yonder gate." 

At these words the negress broke into so prodigious a grin that, 
in the moonlight, it appeared as though the whole lower part of 
her face had been transformed into shining teeth. ''You be a 
brave Buckra," said she, in her gibbering English. " You come wid 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

Melina, and Melina take you to pretty lady, who want you to eat 
supper wid her." 

Thereupon, and allowing our hero no opportunity to decline 
this extraordinary invitation, even had he been of a mind to do so, 
she took him by the hand and led him toward the large and impos- 
ing house which commanded the garden. "Indeed," says Jonathan 
to himself, as he followed his sable guide himself followed in turn 
by the gigantic negro "indeed, I am like to have my fill of ad- 
venture, if anything is to be judged from such a beginning as this." 

Nor did the interior sumptuousness of the mansion at all belie 
the imposing character of its exterior, for, entering by way of an 
illuminated veranda, and so coming into a brilliantly lighted hall- 
way beyond, Jonathan beheld himself to be surrounded by such a 
wealth of exquisite and well-appointed tastefulness as it had never 
before been his good fortune to behold. 

Candles of clarified wax sparkled like stars in chandeliers of 
crystal. These in turn, catching the illumination, glittered in pris- 
matic fragments with all the varied colors of the rainbow, so that 
a mellow yet brilliant radiance filled the entire apartment. Polished 
mirrors of a spotless clearness, framed in golden frames and built 
into the walls, reflected the waxed floors, the rich Oriental carpets, 
and the sumptuous paintings that hung against the ivory-tinted 
paneling, so that in appearance the beauties of the apartment were 
continued in bewildering vistas upon every side toward which the 
beholder directed his gaze. 

Bidding our hero to be seated, which he did with no small 
degree of embarrassment and constraint, and upon the extreme 
edge of the gilt and satin-covered chair, the negress who had been 
his conductor left him for the time being to his own contemplation. 

Almost before he had an opportunity to compose himself into 
anything more than a part of his ordinary sedateness of demeanor, 
the silken curtains at the doorway at the other end of the apartment 
were suddenly divided, and Jonathan beheld before him a female 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

figure displaying the most exquisite contour of mold and of pro- 
portion. She was clad entirely in white, and was enveloped from 
head to foot in the folds of a veil of delicate silver gauze, which, 
though hiding her countenance from recognition, nevertheless per- 
mitted sufficient of her beauties to be discerned to suggest the 
extreme elegance and loveliness of her lineaments. Advancing 
toward our hero, and extending to him a tapering hand as white 
as alabaster, the fingers encircled with a multitude of jeweled rings, 
she addressed him thus: 

"Sir," she said, speaking in accents of the most silvery and 
musical cadence, "you are no doubt vastly surprised to find yourself 
thus unexpectedly, and almost as by violence, introduced into the 
house of one who is such an entire stranger to you as myself. But 
though I am unknown to you, I must inform you that I am better 
acquainted with my visitor, for my agents have been observing 
you ever since you landed this afternoon at the dock, and they have 
followed you ever since, until a little while ago, when you stopped 
immediately opposite my garden gate. These agents have observed 
you with a closeness of scrutiny of which you are doubtless entirely 
unaware. They have even informed me that, owing doubtless to 
your extreme interest in your new surroundings, you have not as 
yet supped. Knowing this, and that you must now be enjoying a 
very hearty appetite, I have to ask you if you will do me the extreme 
favor of sitting at table with me at a repast which you will doubtless 
be surprised to learn has been hastily prepared entirely in your 

So saying, and giving Jonathan no time for reply, she offered 
him her hand, and with the most polite insistence conducted him 
into an exquisitely appointed dining room adjoining. 

Here stood a table covered with a snow-white cloth, and 
embellished with silver and crystal ornaments of every description. 
Having seated herself and having indicated to Jonathan to take 
the chair opposite to her, the two were presently served with a 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

repast such as our hero had not thought could have existed out of 
the pages of certain extraordinary Oriental tales which one time 
had fallen to his lot to read. 

This supper (which in itself might successfully have tempted 
the taste of a Sybarite) was further enhanced by several wines and 
cordials which, filling the room with the aroma of the sunlit grapes 
from which they had been expressed, stimulated the appetite, 
which without them needed no such spur. The lady, who ate but 
sparingly herself, possessed herself with patience until Jonathan's 
hunger had been appeased. When, however, she beheld that he 
weakened in his attacks upon the dessert of sweets with which the 
banquet was concluded, she addressed him upon the business which 
was evidently entirely occupying her mind. 

"Sir," said she, "you are doubtless aware that everyone, 
whether man or woman, is possessed of an enemy. In my own 
case I must inform you that I have no less than three who, to 
compass their ends, would gladly sacrifice my life itself to their 
purposes. At no time am I safe from their machinations, nor 
have I anyone," cried she, exhibiting a great emotion, "to whom 
I may turn in my need. It was this that led me to hope to find 
in you a friend in my perils, for, having observed through my agents 
that you are not only honest in disposition and strong in person, 
but that you are possessed of a considerable degree of energy and 
determination, I am most desirous of imposing upon your good 
nature a trust of which you cannot for a moment suspect the 
magnitude. Tell me, are you willing to assist a poor, defenseless 
female in her hour of trial?" 

"Indeed, friend," quoth Jonathan, with more vivacity than he 
usually exhibited, with a lenity to which he had heretofore in his 
lifetime been a stranger being warmed into such a spirit, doubtless, 
by the generous wines of which be had partaken "indeed, friend, 
if I could but see thy face it would doubtless make my decision in 
such a matter the more favorable, since I am inclined to think, 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

from the little I can behold of it, that thy appearance must be 
extremely comely to the eye." 

"Sir," said the lady, exhibiting some amusement at this un- 
expected sally, "I am, you must know, as God made me. Some- 
time, perhaps, I may be very glad to satisfy your curiosity, and 
exhibit to you my poor countenance such as it is. But now" 
and here she reverted to her more serious mood "I must again 
put it to you: are you willing to help an unprotected woman in a 
period of very great danger to herself? Should you decline the 
assistance which I solicit, my slaves shall conduct you to the gate 
through which you entered, and suffer you to depart in peace. 
Should you, upon the other hand, accept the trust, you are to 
receive no reward therefor, except the gratitude of one who thus 
appeals to you in her helplessness." 

For a few moments Jonathan fell silent, for here, indeed, was 
he entering into an adventure which infinitely surpassed any 
anticipation that he could have formed. He was, besides, of a 
cautious nature, and was entirely disinclined to embark in any 
affair so obscure and tangled as that in which he now found himself 
becoming involved. 

"Friend," said he, at last, "I may tell thee that thy story 
has so far moved me as to give me every inclination to help thee 
in thy difficulties, but I must also inform thee that I am a man 
of caution, having never before entered into any business of this 
sort. Therefore, before giving any promise that may bind my 
future actions, I must, in common wisdom, demand to know what 
are the conditions that thou hast in mind to impose upon me." 

"Indeed, sir," cried the lady, with great vivacity and with 
more cheerful accents as though her mind had been relieved of a 
burden of fear that her companion might at once have declined 
even a consideration of her request " indeed, sir, you will find 
that the trust which I would impose upon you is in appearance no 
such great matter as my words may have led you to suppose. 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

"You must know that I am possessed of a little trinket which, 
in the hands of anyone who, like yourself, is a stranger in these 
parts, would possess no significance, but which while in my keeping 
is fraught with infinite menace to me." 

Hereupon, and having so spoken, she clapped her hands, and 
an attendant immediately entered, disclosing the person of the same 
negress who had first introduced Jonathan into the strange adven- 
ture in which he now found himself involved. This creature, who 
appeared still more deformed and repulsive in the brilliantly lighted 
room than she had in the moonlight, carried in her hands a white 
napkin, which she handed to her mistress. This being opened, 
disclosed a small ivory ball of about the bigness of a lime. Nodding 
to the negress to withdraw, the lady handed him the ivory ball, 
and Jonathan took it with no small degree of curiosity and examined 
it carefully. It appeared to be of an exceeding antiquity, and of so 
deep a yellow as to be almost brown in color. It was covered 
over with strange figures and characters of an Oriental sort, which 
appeared to our hero to be of Chinese workmanship. 

"I must tell you, sir," said the lady, after she had permitted 
her guest to examine this for a while in silence, "that though this 
appears to you to be of little worth, it is yet of extreme value. After 
all, however, it is nothing but a curiosity that anyone who is in- 
terested in such matters might possess. What I have to ask you 
is this: will you be willing to take this into your charge, to guard 
it with the utmost care and fidelity yes, even as the apple of your 
eye during your continuance in these parts, and to return it to me 
in safety the day before your departure? By so doing you will 
render me a service which you may neither understand nor com- 
prehend, but which shall make me your debtor for my entire life." 

By this tune Jonathan had pretty well composed his mind 
for a reply. 

"Friend," said he, "such a matter as this is entirely out of my 
knowledge of business, which is, indeed, that of a clerk in the 
15 [ 221 ] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

mercantile profession. Nevertheless, I have every inclination to 
help thee, though I trust thou mayest have magnified the dangers 
that beset thee. This appears to me to be a little trifle for such an 
ado; nevertheless, I will do as thou dost request. I will keep it 
in safety and will return it to thee upon this day a week hence, 
by which time I hope to have discharged my cargo and be ready 
to continue my voyage to Demerara." 

At these words the lady, who had been watching him all the 
time with a most unaccountable eagerness, burst forth into words 
of such heartfelt gratitude as to entirely overwhelm our hero. 
When her transports had been somewhat assuaged she permitted 
him to depart, and the negress conducted him back through the 
garden, whence she presently showed him through the gate whither 
he had entered and out into the street. 


The Terrific Encounter with the One-Eyed Little Gentleman in Black 

Finding himself once more in the open street, Jonathan Rugg 
stood for a while in the moonlight, endeavoring to compose his 
mind into somewhat of that sobriety that was habitual with him; 
for, indeed, he was not a little excited by the unexpected incidents 
that had just befallen him. From this effort at composure he 
was aroused by observing that a little gentleman clad all in black 
had stopped at a little distance away and was looking very intently 
at him. In the brightness of the moonlight our hero could see that 
the little gentleman possessed but a single eye, and that he carried 
a gold-headed cane in his hand. He had hardly time to observe 
these particulars, when the other approached him with every 
appearance of politeness and cordiality. 

"Sir," said he, "surely I am not mistaken in recognizing in 
you the supercargo of the ship Susanna Hayes, which arrived this 
afternoon at this port?" 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

"Indeed," said Jonathan, "thou art right, friend. That is my 
occupation, and that is whence I came." 

" To be sure ! " said the little gentleman. " To be sure ! To be 
sure! The Susanna Hayes, with a cargo of Indian-corn meal, and 
from my dear good friend Jeremiah Doolittle, of Philadelphia. I 
know your good master very well very well indeed. And have you 
never heard him speak of his friend Mr. Abner Greenway, of 
Kingston, Jamaica?" 

"Why, no," replied Jonathan, "I have no such recollection of 
the name nor do I know that any such name hath ever appeared 
upon our books." 

"To be sure! To be sure!" repeated the little gentleman, 
briskly, and with exceeding good nature. "Indeed, my name is not 
likely to have ever appeared upon your employer's books, for I am not 
a business correspondent, but one who, in times past, was his ex- 
tremely intimate friend. There is much I would like to ask about 
him, and, indeed, I was in hopes that you would have been the 
bearer of a letter from him. But I have lodgings at a little distance 
from here, so that if it is not requesting too much of you maybe you 
will accompany me thither, so that we may talk at our leisure. I 
would gladly accompany you to your ship instead of urging you 
to come to my apartments, but I must tell you I am possessed of a 
devil of a fever, so that my physician hath forbidden me to be out 
of nights." 

"Indeed," said Jonathan, who, you may have observed, was 
of a very easy disposition "indeed, I shall be very glad to accom- 
pany thee to thy lodgings. There is nothing I would like better 
than to serve any friend of good Jeremiah Doolittle's." 

And thereupon, and with great amity, the two walked off to- 
gether, the little one-eyed gentleman in black linking his arm 
confidingly into that of Jonathan's, and tapping the pavement 
continually with his cane as he trotted on at a great pace. He 
was very well acquainted with the town (of which he was a citizen), 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

and so interesting was his discourse that they had gone a consider- 
able distance before Jonathan observed they were entering into a 
quarter darker and less frequented than that which they had 
quitted. Tall brick houses stood upon either side, between which 
stretched a narrow, crooked roadway, with a kennel running down 
the center. 

In front of one of these houses a tall and gloomy structure 
our hero's conductor stopped and, opening the door with a key, 
beckoned for him to enter. Jonathan having complied, his new- 
found friend led the way up a flight of steps, against which Jona- 
than's feet beat noisily in the darkness, and at length, having 
ascended two stairways and having reached a landing, he opened 
a door at the end of the passage and ushered Jonathan into an 
apartment, unlighted, except for the moonshine, which, coming in 
through a partly open shutter, lay in a brilliant patch of light upon 
the floor. 

His conductor having struck a light with a flint and steel, 
our hero by the illumination of a single candle presently discovered 
himself to be in a bedchamber furnished with no small degree of 
comfort, and even elegance, and having every appearance of a 
bachelor's chamber. 

"You will pardon me," said his new acquaintance, "if I shut 
these shutters and the window, for that devilish fever of which I 
spoke is of such a sort that I must keep the night air even out from 
my room, or else I shall be shaking the bones out of my joints and 
chattering the teeth out of my head by to-morrow morning." 

So saying he was as good as his word, and not only drew the 
shutters to, but shot the heavy iron bolt into its place. Having 
accomplished this he bade our hero to be seated, and placing before 
him some exceedingly superior rum, together with some equally 
excellent tobacco, they presently fell into the friendliest discourse 
imaginable. In the course of their talk, which after a while became 
exceedingly confidential, Jonathan confided to his new friend the 


How the Buccaneers Kept Christmas 

Originally published in 
HARPER'S WEEKLY, December 16, 1899 

The Ruby of Kishmoor 

circumstances of the adventure into which he had been led by the 
beautiful stranger, and to all that he said concerning his adventure 
his interlocutor listened with the closest and most scrupulously 
riveted attention. 

"Upon my word," said he, when Jonathan had concluded, 
"I hope that you may not have been made the victim of some 
foolish hoax. Let me see what it is she has confided to you." 

"That I will," replied Jonathan. And thereupon he thrust 
his hand into his breeches' pocket and brought forth the ivory ball. 

No sooner did the one eye of the little gentleman in black 
light upon the object than a most singular and extraordinary con- 
vulsion appeared to seize upon him. Had a bullet penetrated his 
heart he could not have started more violently, nor have sat more 
rigidly and breathlessly staring. 

Mastering his emotion with the utmost difficulty as Jonathan 
replaced the ball in his pocket, he drew a deep and profound breath 
and wiped the palm of his hand across his forehead as though 
arousing himself from a dream. 

"And you," he said, of a sudden, "are, I understand it, a 
Quaker. Do you, then, never carry a weapon, even in such a 
place as this, where at any moment in the dark a Spanish knife 
may be stuck betwixt your ribs?" 

"Why, no," said Jonathan, somewhat surprised that so foreign 
a topic should have been so suddenly introduced into the discourse. 
"I am a man of peace and not of blood. The people of the Society 
of Friends never carry weapons, either of offense or defense." 

As Jonathan concluded his reply the little gentleman suddenly 
arose from his chair and moved briskly around to the other side 
of the room. Our hero, watching him with some surprise, beheld 
him clap to the door and with a single movement shoot the bolt 
and turn the key therein. The next instant he turned to Jonathan 
a visage transformed as suddenly as though he had dropped a 
mask from his face. The gossiping and polite little old bachelor 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

was there no longer, but in his stead a man with a countenance 
convulsed with some furious and nameless passion. 

"That ball!" he cried, in a hoarse and raucous voice. "That 
ivory ball! Give it to me upon the instant!" 

As he spoke he whipped out from his bosom a long, keen 
Spanish knife that in its every appearance spoke without equivoca- 
tion of the most murderous possibilities. 

The malignant passions that distorted every lineament of the 
countenance of the little old gentleman in black filled our hero 
with such astonishment that he knew not whether he were asleep 
or awake; but when he beheld the other advancing with the naked 
and shining knife in his hand his reason returned to him like a 
flash. Leaping to his feet, he lost no time in putting the table 
between himself and his sudden enemy. 

"Indeed, friend," he cried, in a voice penetrated with terror 
"indeed, friend, thou hadst best keep thy distance from me, for 
though I am a man of peace and a shunner of bloodshed, I promise 
thee that I will not stand still to be murdered without outcry 
or without endeavoring to defend my life!" 

"Cry as loud as you please!" exclaimed the other. "No one 
is near this place to hear you! Cry until you are hoarse; no one 
in this neighborhood will stop to ask what is the matter with you. 
I tell you I am determined to possess myself of that ivory ball, 
and have it I shall, even though I am obliged to cut out your heart 
to get it!" As he spoke he grinned with so extraordinary and 
devilish a distortion of his countenance, and with such an appear- 
ance of every intention of carrying out his threat as to send the 
goose flesh creeping like icy fingers up and down our hero's spine 
with the most incredible rapidity and acuteness. 

Nevertheless, mastering his fears, Jonathan contrived to speak 
up with a pretty good appearance of spirit. "Indeed, friend," 
he said, "thou appearest to forget that I am a man of twice thy 
bulk and half thy years, and that though thou hast a knife I am 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

determined to defend myself to the last extremity. I am not going 
to give thee that which thou demandest of me, and for thy sake I 
advise thee to open the door and let me go free as I entered, or 
else harm may befall thee." 

"Fool!" cried the other, hardly giving him time to end. "Do 
you, then, think that I have time to chatter with you while two 
villains are lying in wait for me, perhaps at the very door? Blame 
your own self for your death!" And, gnashing his teeth with an 
indescribable menace, and resting his hand upon the table, he 
vaulted with incredible agility clean across it and upon our hero, 
who, entirely unprepared for such an extraordinary attack, was 
flung back against the wall, with an arm as strong as steel clutching 
his throat and a knife flashing in his very eyes with dreadful portent 
of instant death. 

With an instinct to preserve his life, he caught his assailant 
by the wrist, and, bending it away from himself, set every fiber of 
his body in a superhuman effort to guard and protect himself. 
The other, though so much older and smaller, seemed to be com- 
posed entirely of fibers of steel, and, in his murderous endeavors, 
put forth a strength so extraordinary that for a moment our hero 
felt his heart melt within him with terror for his life. The spittle 
appeared to dry up within his mouth, and his hair to creep and 
rise upon his head. With a vehement cry of despair and anguish, 
he put forth one stupendous effort for defense, and, clapping his 
heel behind the other's leg, and throwing his whole weight forward, 
he fairly tripped his antagonist backward as he stood. Together 
they fell upon the floor, locked in the most desperate embrace, and 
overturning a chair with a prodigious clatter in their descent 
our hero upon the top and the little gentleman in black beneath 

As they struck the floor the little man in black emitted a most 
piercing and terrible scream, and instantly relaxing his efforts of 
attack, fell to beating the floor with the back of his hands and 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

drubbing with his heels upon the rug in which he had become 

Our hero leaped to his feet, and with dilating eyes and ex- 
panding brain and swimming sight stared down upon the other 
like one turned to a stone. 

He beheld instantly what had occurred, and that he had, 
without so intending, killed a fellow man. The knife, turned 
away from his own person, had in their fall been plunged into the 
bosom of the other, and he now lay quivering in the last throes of 
death. As Jonathan gazed he beheld a thin red stream trickle 
out from the parted and grinning lips; he beheld the eyes turn 
inward; he beheld the eyelids contract; he beheld the figure 
stretch itself; he beheld it become still in death. 


The Momentous Adventure with the Stranger with the Silver Earrings 

So our hero stood stunned and bedazed, gazing down upon his 
victim, like a man turned into a stone. His brain appeared to him 
to expand like a bubble, the blood surged and hummed in his ears 
with every gigantic beat of his heart, his vision swam, and his 
trembling hands were bedewed with a cold and repugnant sweat. 
The dead figure upon the floor at his feet gazed at him with a wide, 
glassy stare, and in the confusion of his mind it appeared to Jona- 
than that he was, indeed, a murderer. 

What monstrous thing was this that had befallen him who, 
but a moment before, had been so entirely innocent of the guilt 
of blood? What was he now to do in such an extremity as this, 
with his victim lying dead at his feet, a poniard in his heart? Who 
would believe him to be guiltless of crime with such a dreadful 
evidence as this presented against him? How was he, a stranger 
in a foreign land, to totally defend himself against an accusation 
of mistaken justice? At these thoughts a developed terror gripped 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

at his vitals and a sweat as cold as ice bedewed his entire body. 
No, he must tarry for no explanation or defense ! He must imme- 
diately fly from this terrible place, or else, should he be discovered, 
his doom would certainly be sealed! 

At that moment, and in the very extremity of his apprehensions, 
there fell of a sudden a knock upon the door, sounding so loud and 
so startling upon the silence of the room that every shattered 
nerve in our hero's frame tingled and thrilled in answer to it. He 
stood petrified, scarcely so much as daring to breathe; and then, 
observing that his mouth was agape, he moistened his dry and 
parching lips, and drew his jaws together with a snap. 

Again there fell the same loud, insistent knock upon the panel, 
followed by the imperative words, "Open within!" 

The wretched Jonathan flung about him a glance at once of 
terror and of despair, but there was for him no possible escape. 
He was shut tight in the room with his dead victim, like a rat in a 
trap. Nothing remained for him but to obey the summons from 
without. Indeed, in the very extremity of his distraction, he 
possessed reason enough to perceive that the longer he delayed 
opening the door the less innocent he might hope to appear in the 
eyes of whoever stood without. 

With the uncertain and spasmodic movements of an ill-con- 
structed automaton, he crossed the room, and stepping very care- 
fully over the prostrate body upon the floor, and with a hesitating 
reluctance that he could in no degree master, he unlocked, unbolted, 
and opened the door. 

The figure that outlined itself in the light of the candle, against 
the blackness of the passageway without, was of such a singular 
and foreign aspect as to fit extremely well into the extraordinary 
tragedy of which Jonathan was at once the victim and the cause. 

It was that of a lean, tall man with a thin, yellow countenance, 
embellished with a long, black mustache, and having a pair of for- 
bidding, deeply set, and extremely restless black eyes. A crimson 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

handkerchief beneath a lace cocked hat was tied tightly around 
the head, and a pair of silver earrings, which caught the light of the 
candle, gleamed and twinkled against the inky darkness of the 
passageway beyond. 

This extraordinary being, without favoring our hero with any 
word of apology for his intrusion, immediately thrust himself for- 
ward into the room, and stretching his long, lean, birdlike neck so 
as to direct his gaze over the intervening table, fixed a gaping and 
concentrated stare upon the figure lying still and motionless in the 
center of the room. 

" Vat you do dare," said he, with a guttural and foreign accent, 
and thereupon, without waiting for a reply, came forward and 
knelt down beside the dead man. After thrusting his hand into the 
silent and shrunken bosom, he presently looked up and fixed his 
penetrating eyes upon our hero's countenance, who, benumbed 
and bedazed with his despair, still stood like one enchained in the 
bonds of a nightmare. "He vas dead!" said the stranger, and 
Jonathan nodded his head in reply. 

"Vy you keel ze man?" inquired his interlocutor. 

"Indeed," cried Jonathan, finding a voice at last, but one 
so hoarse that he could hardly recognize it for his own, "I know not 
what to make of the affair! But, indeed, I do assure thee, friend, 
that I am entirely innocent of what thou seest." 

The stranger still kept his piercing gaze fixed upon our hero's 
countenance, and Jonathan, feeling that something further was 
demanded of him, continued: "I am, indeed, a victim of a most 
extravagant and extraordinary adventure. This evening, coming 
an entire stranger to this country, I was introduced into the house 
of a beautiful female, who bestowed upon me a charge that appeared 
to me to be at once insignificant and absurd. Behold this little 
ivory ball," said he, drawing the globe from his pocket, and dis- 
playing it between his thumb and finger. "It is this that appears 
to have brought all this disaster upon me; for, coming from the 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

house of the young woman, the man whom thou now beholdest 
lying dead upon the floor induced me to come to this place. Having 
inveigled me hither, he demanded of me to give him at once this 
insignificant trifle. Upon my refusing to do so, he assaulted me 
with every appearance of a mad and furious inclination to deprive 
me of my life!" 

At the sight of the ivory ball the stranger quickly arose from 
his kneeling posture and fixed upon our hero a gaze the most ex- 
traordinary that he had ever encountered. His eyes dilated like 
those of a cat, the breath expelled itself from his bosom in so deep 
and profound an expiration that it appeared as though it might 
never return again. Nor was it until Jonathan had replaced the ball 
in his pocket that he appeared to awaken from the trance that the 
sight of the object had sent him into. But no sooner had the cause 
of this strange demeanor disappeared into our hero's breeches' 
pocket than he arose as with an electric shock. In an instant he 
became transformed as by the touch of magic. A sudden and bale- 
ful light flamed into his eyes, his face grew as red as blood, and he 
clapped his hand to his pocket with a sudden and violent motion. 
"Ze ball!" he cried, in a hoarse and strident voice. "Ze ball! Give 
me ze ball!" And upon the next instant our hero beheld the round 
and shining nozzle of a pistol pointed directly against his forehead. 

For a moment he stood as though transfixed; then in the 
mortal peril that faced him, he uttered a roar that sounded in his 
own ears like the outcry of a wild beast, and thereupon flung him- 
self bodily upon the other with the violence and the fury of a madman. 

The stranger drew the trigger, and the powder flashed in the 
pan. He dropped the weapon, clattering, and in an instant tried 
to draw another from his other pocket. Before he could direct his 
aim, however, our hero had caught him by both wrists, and, bending 
his hand backward, prevented the chance of any shot from taking 
immediate effect upon his person. Then followed a struggle of 
extraordinary ferocity and frenzy the stranger endeavoring to free 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

his hand, and Jonathan striving with all the energy of despair to 
prevent him from effecting his murderous purpose. 

In the struggle our hero became thrust against the edge of the 
table. He felt as though his back were breaking, and became 

conscious that in such a situation he could hope to defend himself 
only a few moments longer. The stranger's face was pressed close 
to his own. His hot breath, strong with the odor of garlic, fanned 
our hero's cheek, while his lips, distended into a ferocious and 
ferine grin, displayed his sharp teeth shining in the candlelight. 

" Give me ze ball ! " he said, in a harsh and furious whisper. 

At the moment there rang in Jonathan's ears the sudden and 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

astounding detonation of a pistol shot, and for a moment he won- 
dered whether he had received a mortal wound without being 
aware of it. Then suddenly he beheld an extraordinary and dread- 
ful transformation take place in the countenance thrust so close 
to his own; the eyes winked several times with incredible rapidity, 
and then rolled upward and inward; the jaws gaped into a dreadful 
and cavernous yawn; the pistol fell with a clatter to the floor, and 
the next moment the muscles, so rigid but an instant before, relaxed 
into a limp and listless flaccidity. The joints collapsed, and the 
entire man fell into an indistinguishable heap upon and across the 
dead figure stretched out upon the floor, while at the same time a 
pungent and blinding cloud of gunpowder smoke filled the apart- 
ment. For a few moments the hands twitched convulsively; the 
neck stretched itself to an abominable length; the long, lean legs 
slowly and gradually relaxed, and every fiber of the body gradually 
collapsed into the lassitude of death. A spot of blood appeared and 
grew upon the collar at the throat, and in the same degree the color 
ebbed from the face, leaving it of a dull and leaden pallor. 

All these terrible and formidable changes of aspect our hero 
stood watching with a motionless and riveted attention, and as 
though they were to him matters of the utmost consequence and 
importance; and only when the last flicker of life had departed 
from his second victim did he lift his gaze from this terrible scene 
of dissolution to stare about him, this way and that, his eyes 
blinded, and his breath stifled by the thick cloud of sulphurous 
smoke that obscured the objects about him in a pungent cloud. 

The Unexpected Encounter with the Sea Captain with the Broken Nose 

If our hero had been distracted and bedazed by the first 
catastrophe that had befallen, this second and even more dreadful 
and violent occurrence appeared to take away from him, for the 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

moment, every power of thought and of sensation. All that 
perturbation of emotion that had before convulsed him he dis- 
covered to have disappeared, and in its stead a benumbed and 
blinded intelligence alone remained to him. As he stood in the 
presence of this second death, of which he had been as innocent 
and as unwilling an instrument as he had of the first, he could 
observe no signs either of remorse or of horror within him. He 
picked up his hat, which had fallen upon the floor in the first en- 
counter, and, brushing away the dust with the cuff of his coat 
sleeve with extraordinary care, adjusted the beaver upon his head 
with the utmost nicety. Then turning, still stupefied as with the 
fumes of some powerful drug, he prepared to quit the scene of tragic 
terrors that had thus unexpectedly accumulated upon him. 

But ere he could put his design into execution his ears were 
startled by the sound of loud and hurried footsteps which, coming 
from below, ascended the stairs with a prodigious clatter and bustle 
of speed. At the landing these footsteps paused for a while, and 
then approached, more cautious and deliberate, toward the room 
where the double tragedy had been enacted, and where our hero 
yet stood silent and inert. 

All this while Jonathan made no endeavor to escape, but stood 
passive and submissive to what might occur. He felt himself the 
victim of circumstances over which he himself had no control. 
Gazing at the partly opened door, he waited for whatever ad- 
venture might next befall him. Once again the footsteps paused, 
this time at the very threshold, and then the door was slowly 
pushed open from without. 

As our hero gazed at the aperture there presently became 
disclosed to his view the strong and robust figure of one who was 
evidently of a seafaring habit. From the gold braid upon his hat, 
the seals dangling from the ribbon at his fob, and a certain par- 
ticularity of custom, he was evidently one of no small consideration 
in his profession. He was of a strong and powerful build, with a 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

head set close to his shoulders, and upon a round, short bull neck. 
He wore a black cravat, loosely tied into a knot, and a red waist- 
coat elaborately trimmed with gold braid; a leather belt with a 
brass buckle and hanger, and huge sea boots completed a costume 
singularly suggestive of his occupation in life. His face was round 
and broad, like that of a cat, and a complexion stained, by constant 
exposure to the sun and wind, to a color of newly polished ma- 
hogany. But a countenance which otherwise might have been 
humorous, in this case was rendered singularly repulsive by the 
fact that his nose had been broken so flat to his face that all that 
remained to distinguish that feature were two circular orifices 
where the nostrils should have been. His eyes were by no means 
so sinister as the rest of his visage, being of a light-gray color and 
exceedingly vivacious even good-natured in the merry restlessness 
of their glance albeit they were well-nigh hidden beneath a black 
bush of overhanging eyebrows. When he spoke, his voice was so 
deep and resonant that it was as though it issued from a barrel 
rather than from the breast of a human being. 

"How now, my hearty!" cried he, in stentorian tones, so loud 
that they seemed to stun the tensely drawn drums of our hero's 
ears. "How now, my hearty! What's to do here? Who is shoot- 
ing pistols at this hour of the night?" Then, catching sight of the 
figures lying in a huddle upon the floor, his great, thick lips parted 
into a gape of wonder and his gray eyes rolled in his head like two 
balls, so that what with his flat face and the round holes of his 
nostrils he presented an appearance which, under other circum- 
stances, would have been at once ludicrous and grotesque. 

"By the blood!" cried he, "to be sure it is murder that has 
happened here." 

"Not murder!" cried Jonathan, in a shrill and panting voice. 
"Not murder! It was all an accident, and I am as innocent as a 

The newcomer looked at him and then at the two figures upon 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

the floor, and then back at him again with eyes at once quizzical 
and cunning. Then his face broke into a grin that might hardly 
be called of drollery. "Accident!" quoth he. "By the blood! 
d'ye see 'tis a strange accident, indeed, that lays two men by the 
heels and lets the third go without a scratch!" Delivering himself 
thus, he came forward into the room, and, taking the last victim 
of Jonathan's adventure by the arm, with as little compunction as 
he would have handled a sack of grain he dragged the limp and 
helpless figure from where it lay to the floor beside the first victim. 
Then, lifting the lighted candle, he bent over the two prostrate 
bodies, holding the illumination close to the lineaments first of one 
and then of the other. He looked at them very carefully for a long 
while, with the closest and most intent scrutiny, and in perfect 
silence. : 'They are both as dead," says he, "as Davy Jones, and, 
whoever you be, I protest that you have done your business the 
most completest that I ever saw in all of my life." 

"Indeed," cried Jonathan, in the same shrill and panting voice, 
" it was themselves who did it. First one of them attacked me and 
then the other, and I did but try to keep them from murdering me. 
This one fell on his knife, and that one shot himself in his efforts 
to destroy me." 

"That," says the seaman, "you may very well tell to a dry- 
lander, and maybe he will believe you; but you cannot so easily 
pull the wool over the eyes of Captain Benny Willitts. And what, 
if I may be so bold as for to ask you, was the reason for their attack- 
ing so harmless a man as you proclaim yourself to be?" 

"That I know not," cried Jonathan; "but I am entirely 
willing to tell thee all the circumstances. Thou must know that 
I am a member of the Society of Friends. This day I landed here 
in Kingston, and met a young woman of very comely appearance, 
who intrusted me with this little ivory ball, which she requested 
me to keep for her a few days. The sight of this ball in which I 
can detect nothing that could be likely to arouse any feelings of 


The Burning Ship 

Originally published in 

The Ruby of Kishmoor 

violence appears to have driven these two men entirely mad, so 
that they instantly made the most ferocious and murderous assault 
upon me. See! wouldst thou have believed that so small a thing 
as this would have caused so much trouble?" And as he spoke 
he held up to the gaze of the other the cause of the double tragedy 
that had befallen. But no sooner had Captain Willitts's eyes 
lighted upon the ball than the most singular change passed over 
his countenance. The color appeared to grow dull and yellow in 
his ruddy cheeks, his fat lips dropped apart, and his eyes stared 
with a fixed and glassy glare. He arose to his feet and, still with the 
expression of astonishment and wonder upon his face, gazed first 
at our hero and then at the ivory ball in his hands, as though he 
were deprived both of reason and of speech. At last, as our hero 
slipped the trifle back in his pocket again, the mariner slowly re- 
covered himself, though with a prodigious effort, and drew a deep 
and profound breath as to the very bottom of his lungs. He 
wiped, with the corner of his black-silk cravat, his brow, upon 
which the sweat appeared to have gathered. "Well, messmate," 
says he, at last, with a sudden change of voice, "you have, indeed, 
had a most wonderful adventure." Then with another deep breath: 
"Well, by the blood! I may tell you plainly that I am no poor 
hand at the reading of faces. Well, I think you to be honest, and 
I am inclined to believe every word you tell me. By the blood! 
I am prodigiously sorry for you, and am inclined to help you out 
of your scrape. 

"The first thing to do," he continued, "is to get rid of these 
two dead men, and that is an affair I believe we shall have no 
trouble in handling. One of them we will wrap up in the carpet 
here, and t'other we can roll into yonder bed curtain. You shall 
carry the one and I the other, and, the harbor being at no great 
distance, we can easily bring them thither and tumble them over- 
board, and no one will be the wiser of what has happened. For 
your own safety, as you may easily see, you can hardly go away 
16 [ 237 ] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

and leave these objects here to be found by the first comer, and 
to rise up in evidence against you." 

This reasoning, in our hero's present bewildered state, appeared 
to him to be so extremely just that he raised not the least objection 
to it. Accordingly, each of tht two silent, voiceless victims of the 
evening's occurrences was wrapped into a bundle that from with- 
out appeared to be neither portentous nor terrible in appearance. 

Thereupon, Jonathan shouldering the rug containing the little 
gentleman in black, and the sea captain doing the like for the other, 
they presently made their way down the stairs through the darkness, 
and so out into the street. Here the sea captain became the 
conductor of the expedition, and leading the way down several 
alleys and along certain by-streets now and then stopping to 
rest, for the burdens were both heavy and clumsy to carry they 
both came out at last to the harbor front, without anyone having 
questioned them or having appeared to suspect them of anything 
wrong. At the waterside was an open wharf extending a pretty 
good distance out into the harbor. Thither the captain led the 
way and Jonathan followed. So they made their way out along the 
wharf or pier, stumbling now and then over loose boards, until they 
came at last to where the water was of a sufficient depth for their 
purpose. Here the captain, bending his shoulders, shot his burden 
out into the dark, mysterious waters, and Jonathan, following his 
example, did the same. Each body sank with a sullen and leaden 
splash into the element, where, the casings which swathed them 
becoming loosened, the rug and the curtain rose to the surface and 
drifted slowly away with the tide. 

As Jonathan stood gazing dully at the disappearance of these 
last evidences of his two inadvertent murders, he was suddenly 
and vehemently aroused by feeling a pair of arms of enormous 
strength flung about him from behind. In their embrace his 
elbows were instantly pinned tight to his side, and he stood for a 
moment helpless and astounded, while the voice of the sea captain, 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

rumbling in his very ear, exclaimed, "Ye bloody, murthering 
Quaker, I'll have that ivory ball, or I'll have your life!" 

These words produced the same effect upon Jonathan as 
though a douche of cold water had suddenly been flung over him. 

He began instantly to struggle to free himself, and that with a 
frantic and vehement violence begotten at once of terror and 
despair. So prodigious were his efforts that more than once he 
had nearly torn himself free, but still the powerful arms of his 
captor held him as in a vise of iron. Meantime, our hero's assailant 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

made frequent though ineffectual attempts to thrust a hand into 
the breeches' pocket where the ivory ball was hidden, swearing 
the while under his breath with a terrifying and monstrous string of 
oaths. At last, finding himself foiled in every such attempt, and 
losing all patience at the struggles of his victim, he endeavored to 
lift Jonathan off of his feet, as though to dash him bodily upon the 
ground. In this he would doubtless have succeeded had he not 
caught his heel in the crack of a loose board of the wharf. Instantly 
they both fell, violently prostrate, the captain beneath and Jonathan 
above him, though still encircled in his iron embrace. Our hero 
felt the back of his head strike violently upon the flat face of the 
other, and he heard the captain's skull sound with a terrific crack 
like that of a breaking egg upon some post or billet of wood, against 
which he must have struck. In their frantic struggles they had 
approached extremely near the edge of the wharf, so that the next 
instant, with an enormous and thunderous splash, Jonathan found 
himself plunged into the waters of the harbor, and the arms of his 
assailant loosened from about his body. 

The shock of the water brought him instantly to his senses, 
and, being a fairly good swimmer, he had not the least difficulty in 
reaching and clutching the crosspiece of a wooden ladder that, coated 
with slimy sea moss, led from the water level to the wharf above. 

After reaching the safety of the dry land once more, Jonathan 
gazed about him as though to discern whence the next attack might 
be delivered upon him. But he stood entirely alone upon the dock 
not another living soul was in sight. The surface of the water 
exhibited some commotion, as though disturbed by something 
struggling beneath; but the sea captain, who had doubtless been 
stunned by the tremendous crack upon his head, never arose again 
out of the element that had engulfed him. 

The moonlight shone with a peaceful and resplendent illumina" 
tion, and, excepting certain remote noises from the distant town, 


Dead Men Tell No Tales 

Originally published ii\ 
COLLIER'S WEEKLY, December 17, 1899 

The Ruby of Kishmoor 

not a sound broke the silence and the peacefulness of the balmy, 
tropical night. The limpid water, illuminated by the resplendent 
moonlight, lapped against the wharf. All the world was calm, 
serene, and enveloped in a profound and entire repose. 

Jonathan looked up at the round and brilliant globe of light 
floating in the sky above his head, and wondered whether it were, 
indeed, possible that all that had befallen him was a reality and 
not some tremendous hallucination. Then suddenly arousing him- 
self to a renewed realization of that which had occurred, he turned 
and ran like one possessed, up along the wharf, and so into the 
moonlit town once more. 


The Conclusion of the Adventure with the Lady with the Silver Veil 

Nor did he check his precipitous flight until suddenly, being 
led perhaps by some strange influence of which he was not at all the 
master, he discovered himself to be standing before the garden gate 
where not more than an hour before he had first entered upon the 
series of monstrous adventures that had led to such tremendous 

People were still passing and repassing, and one of these groups 
a party of young ladies and gentlemen paused upon the opposite 
side of the street to observe, with no small curiosity and amusement, 
his dripping and bedraggled aspect. But only one thought and one 
intention possessed our hero to relieve himself as quickly as pos- 
sible of that trust which he had taken up so thoughtlessly, and 
with such monstrous results to himself and to his victims. He 
ran to the gate of the garden and began beating and kicking upon 
it with a vehemence that he could neither master nor control. 
He was aware that the entire neighborhood was becoming aroused, 
for he beheld lights moving and loud voices of inquiry; yet he 
gave not the least thought to the disturbance he was creating, but 

[241 ] 

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

continued without intermission his uproarious pounding upon the 

At length, in answer to the sound of his vehement blows, the 
little wicket was opened and a pair of eyes appeared thereat. 
The next instant the gate was cast ajar very hastily, and the pock- 
pitted negress appeared. She caught him by the sleeve of his 
coat and drew him quickly into the garden. "Buckra, Buckra!" 
she cried. "What you doing? You wake de whole town !" Then, 
observing his dripping garments: ''You been in de water. You 
catch de fever and shake till you die." 

"Thy mistress!" cried Jonathan, almost sobbing in the excess 
of his emotion; "take me to her upon the instant, or I cannot 
answer for my not going entirely mad!" 

When our hero was again introduced to the lady he found her 
clad in a loose and elegant negligee, infinitely becoming to her 
graceful figure, and still covered with the veil of silver gauze that 
had before enveloped her. 

"Friend," he cried, vehemently, approaching her and holding 
out toward her the little ivory ball, "take again this which thou 
gavest me! It has brought death to three men, and I know not 
what terrible fate may befall me if I keep it longer in my possession." 

"What is it you say?" cried she, in a piercing voice. "Did 
you say it hath caused the death of three men? Quick! Tell me 
what has happened, for I feel somehow a presage that you bring 
me news of safety and release from all my dangers." 

"I know not what thou meanest!" cried Jonathan, still panting 
with agitation. "But this I do know: that when I went away from 
thee I departed an innocent man, and now I come back to thee 
burdened with the weight of three lives, which, though innocent, 
I have been instrumental in taking." 

"Explain!" exclaimed the lady, tapping the floor with her 
foot. "Explain! explain! explain!" 

"That I will," cried Jonathan, "and as soon as I am able! 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

When I left thee and went out into the street I was accosted by a 
little gentleman clad in black." 

"Indeed!" cried the lady. "And had he but one eye, and did 
he carry a gold-headed cane?" 

"Exactly," said Jonathan; "and he claimed acquaintance 
with friend Jeremiah Doolittle." 

"He never knew him!" cried the lady, vehemently; "and I 
must tell you that he was a villain named Hunt, who at one time 
was the intimate consort of the pirate Keitt. He it was who 
plunged a deadly knife into his captain's bosom, and so murdered 
him in this very house. He himself, or his agents, must have been 
watching my gate when you went forth." 

"I know not how that may be," said Jonathan, "but he took 
me to his apartment, and there, obtaining a knowledge of the trust 
thou didst burden me with, he demanded it of me, and upon my 
refusing to deliver it to him he presently fell to attacking me with a 
dagger. In my efforts to protect my life I inadvertently caused 
him to plunge the knife into his own bosom and to kill himself." 

"And what then?" cried the lady, who appeared well-nigh 
distracted with her emotions. 

"Then," said Jonathan, "there came a strange man a for- 
eigner who upon his part assaulted me with a pistol, with every 
intention of murdering me and thus obtaining possession of that 
same little trifle." 

"And did he," exclaimed the lady, "have long, black mus- 
tachios, and did he have silver earrings in his ears?" 

"Yes," said Jonathan, "he did." 

"That," cried the lady, "could have been none other than 
Captain Keitt's Portuguese sailing master, who must have been 
spying upon Hunt! Tell me what happened next!" 

"He would have taken my life," said Jonathan, "but in the 
struggle that followed he shot himself accidentally with his own 
pistol, and died at my very feet. I do not know what would 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

have happened to me if a sea captain had not come and proffered 
his assistance." 

"A sea captain!" she exclaimed; "and had he a flat face and 
a broken nose?" 

"Indeed he had," replied Jonathan. 

"That," said the lady, "must have been Captain Keitt's pirate 
partner Captain Willitts, of The Bloody Hand. He was doubtless 
spying upon the Portuguese." 

"He induced me," said Jonathan, "to carry the two bodies 
down to the wharf. Having inveigled me there where, I suppose, 
he thought no one could interfere he assaulted me, and endeavored 
to take the ivory ball away from me. In my efforts to escape we 
both fell into the water, and he, striking his head upon the edge of 
the wharf, was first stunned and then drowned." 

"Thank God!" cried the lady, with a transport of fervor, and 
clasping her jeweled hands together. "At last I am free of those 
who have heretofore persecuted me and threatened my very life 
itself! You have asked to behold my face; I will now show it to 
you! Heretofore I have been obliged to keep it concealed lest, 
recognizing me, my enemies should have slain me." As she spoke 
she drew aside her veil, and disclosed to the vision of our hero a 
countenance of the most extraordinary and striking beauty. Her 
luminous eyes were like those of a Jawa, and set beneath exquisitely 
arched and penciled brows. Her forehead was like lustrous ivory 
and her lips like rose leaves. Her hair, which was as soft as the 
finest silk, was fastened up in masses of ravishing abundance. "I 
am," said she, "the daughter of that unfortunate Captain Keitt, 
who, though weak and a pirate, was not so wicked, I would have 
you know, as he has been painted. He would, doubtless, have been 
an honest man had he not been led astray by the villain Hunt, who 
so nearly compassed your destruction. He returned to this island 
before his death, and made me the sole heir of all that great fortune 
which he had gathered perhaps not by the most honest means 



The Ruby of Kishmoor 

in the waters of the Indian Ocean. But the greatest treasure of all 
that fortune bequeathed to me was a single jewel which you yourself 
have just now defended with a courage and a fidelity that I cannot 
sufficiently extol. It is that priceless gem known as the Ruby of 
Kishmoor. I will show it to you." 

Hereupon she took the little ivory ball in her hand, and, with 
a turn of her beautiful wrists, unscrewed a lid so nicely and cun- 
ningly adjusted that no eye could have detected where it was 
joined to the parent globe. Within was a fleece of raw silk con- 
taining an object which she presently displayed before the as- 
tonished gaze of our hero. It was a red stone of about the bigness 
of a plover's egg, and which glowed and flamed with such an ex- 
quisite and ruddy brilliancy as to dazzle even Jonathan's inexperi- 
enced eyes. Indeed, he did not need to be informed of the priceless 
value of the treasure, which he beheld in the rosy palm extended 
toward him. How long he gazed at this extraordinary jewel he 
knew not, but he was aroused from his contemplation by the 
sound of the lady's voice addressing him. "The three villains," 
said she, "who have this day met their deserts in a violent and 
bloody death, had by an accident obtained knowledge that this 
jewel was in my possession. Since then my life has hung upon a 
thread, and every step that I have taken has been watched by these 
enemies, the most cruel and relentless that it was ever the lot of 
any unfortunate to possess. F/om the mortal dangers of their 
machinations you have saved me, exhibiting a courage and a 
determination that cannot be sufficiently applauded. In this you 
have earned my deepest admiration and regard. I would rather," 
she cried, "intrust my life and my happiness to you than into the 
keeping of any man whom I have ever known! I cannot hope to 
reward you in such a way as to recompense you for the perils into 
which my necessities have thrust you; but yet" and here she 
hesitated, as though seeking for words in which to express herself 
"but yet if you are willing to accept of this jewel, and all of the 


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates 

fortune that belongs to me, together with the person of poor Evaline 
Keitt herself, not only the stone and the wealth, but the woman 
also, are yours to dispose of as you see fit!" 

Our hero was so struck aback at this unexpected turn that he 
knew not upon the instant what reply to make. "Friend," said he, 
at last, "I thank thee extremely for thy offer, and, though I would 
not be ungracious, it is yet borne in upon me to testify to thee that 
as to the stone itself and the fortune of which thou speakest, and 
of which I very well know the history I have no inclination to 
receive either the one or the other, both the fruits of theft, rapine, 
and murder. The jewel I have myself beheld three times stained, 
as it were, with the blood of my fellow man, so that it now has so 
little value in my sight that I would not give a peppercorn to possess 
it. Indeed, there is no inducement in the world that could persuade 
me to accept it, or even to take it again into my hand. As to the 
rest of thy generous offer, I have only to say that I am, four months 
hence, to be married to a very comely young woman of Kensington, 
in Pennsylvania, by name Martha Dobbs, and therefore I am not at 
all at liberty to consider my inclinations in any other direction." 

Having so delivered himself, Jonathan bowed with such ease 
as his stiff and awkward joints might command, and thereupon 
withdrew from the presence of the charmer, who, with cheeks 
suffused with blushes and with eyes averted, made no endeavor 
to detain him. 

So ended the only adventure of moment that ever happened 
him in all his life. For thereafter he contented himself with such 
excitement as his mercantile profession and his extremely peaceful 
existence might afford. 


In conclusion it may be said that when the worthy Jonathan 
Rugg was married to Martha Dobbs, upon the following June, some 


The Ruby of Kishmoor 

mysterious friend presented to the bride a rope of pearls of such 
considerable value that when they were realized into money our 
hero was enabled to enter into partnership with his former patron 
the worthy Jeremiah Doolittle, and that, having made such a 
beginning, he by and by arose to become, in his day, one of the 
leading merchants of his native town of Philadelphia. 

The End